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Creeper, The (1977)
Movie Review by The Mortician

Creeper, The (1977) (aka RITUALS) Five bickering doctors go into the Canadian wilderness on one of those manly, daring, testosterone-filled vacations that only movie characters seem to indulge in. They are dropped off by plane and plan to hike to a pick-up destination a few days later where the pilot will be waiting. This one's not a bad movie, there's plenty of early character development to keep things realistic and once they get into the woods...of course it's DELIVERANCE time with an unseen maniac first stealing their shoes...then picking them off, one by one with various traps. As the tension mounts and the cast gets slashed down to the last couple of characters, a final battle takes place at an isolated cabin. Definitely an early cousin to DELIVERANCE and SOUTHERN COMFORT, this movie is a great watch if you like the sort of man vs. man in the wilderness scenario. There's great use of bear traps, bee hives, and one of the classic "trying to get across the roaring waters" sequences and you can FEEL the danger that the cast and crew endured getting these shots in the Canadian wilderness. Top notch acting from Hal Holbrook and producer-star Lawrence Dane (the Judas bad guy in SCANNERS) help things immensely, and my only beef is with the ending---it's not clear exactly WHY the bad guy is doing what he's doing. There is an explanation, and he leaves clues with each victim, but on-screen, it's really difficult to figure out and it's actually an excellent twist. I had to listen to the commentaries and interview with Lawrence Dane on the DVD for clarification, and once I understood the motive...it really made sense! It's a shame this wasn't conveyed in the story properly, otherwise this movie might have been a huge hit back in the day. Still, it's an awesome watch if you enjoy movies with a WRONG TURN and DELIVERANCE flavor, worth checking out today. Definitely an underrated and forgotten gem.

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