Joel Schumacher has a couple of solid films to his credit -- Falling Down, The Lost Boys, Veronica Guerin and a few more -- and even his failures prove to be stylish at the very least (The Number 23, those Batman sequels that shall remain nameless). So what is his name doing on something as skimpy and unremarkable as Blood Creek (a.k.a Town Creek, a.k.a Creek, and not to be confused with this 2006 Canadian horror of the same name), which is being dumped in second-run theaters as we speak?

We open with a black-and-white prologue set in the 1930's, marking Nazi occult expert Michael Fassbender's arrival at a modest West Virginia farm that happens to have a perfectly good rune stone beneath its barn. Cut to present day and switch to color -- EMT Henry Cavill finds himself greeted by his long-lost brother (Dominic Purcell), who disappeared in the woods up around Town Creek and was presumed dead. He's heading back there, definitely with some guns and with or without his brother's help. Cavill gives in and comes with, though what they find up at that farm makes their agreed-upon no-questions-asked policy a hell of a lot harder to abide...


For me to dodge what awaits them would be to make their discovery (and the film) sound spookier than it actually is, so unless you really fear for spoilers of this B-movie with a straight face, proceed ahead...

The brothers find themselves face-to-face with a blood-sucking super-Nazi (still Fassbender) who comes out on the full moon to fulfill some overblown prophecy and -- wouldn't you know it -- rule the Earth. He can command the dead and have them do his bidding, and that includes possessed horses, which only works because the digital effects do, but really, if you're going to draw the line somewhere, wouldn't it be at "blood-sucking super-Nazi"? Purcell and Cavill board themselves in the house while the forever-young Emma Booth encourages them to try all manner of supernatural shenanigans in order to keep the beast at bay. They work as many wonders with the exposition-heavy, humor-light dialogue of David Kajganich's screenplay as they can, and Fassbender is a good sport for almost always appearing in make-up and often mumbling in German.

In fact, everyone here from Fassbender to Purcell to Cavill to Booth to Tigerland vet Shea Whigham would appear to be a good sport for having a hand in this endeavor, this often competent yet never really thrilling outing. Beyond a paycheck, what was the impetus behind going forward with such a project? For the record, it's not the worst thing that anyone involved has done, and clever use is made of both the single location and the limited amount of actors (hint: one can make the most of their body count if they just make sure that a super-Nazi is around to bring his victims back to life). But Schumacher doesn't bring any particular flair to the proceedings, and the film as a whole seems perfectly ripe for a slot in next year's After Dark Horrorfest, where it would inevitably fare better, if only in comparison to some of its kin.

But here Blood Creek is, surely released to satisfy a contractual obligation, and then there it'll go right to DVD shelves, where it'll be glanced over by most and dusted off by only the most curious of genre fans, maybe on a full moon, when all the copies of Wolf Creek have been rented out instead...

CATEGORIES Reviews, Horror