When I got Creature From The Hillbilly Lagoon in the mail, I have to admit, I was pretty excited. This movie, the latest from Shock-O-Rama Cinema, has all the signs of being a cool indie movie, fish monsters, hillbillies and gore. If only it had lived up to all the expectations!
The story here is pretty simple: A local factory is dumping toxic waste into the local water system, and when a group of scientists arrive to see what damage has been done to the ecosystem, they discover that something is in the woods killing people. When the group is joined by a group of hillbillies, who are also on the run from the mutated fish monsters, it’s now time for the prerequisite running from the monsters. At the end of the run comes a twist that would ordinarily have had me more interested, but it takes so long to get there that my senses were pretty dulled by the time it arrives.
Creature From The Hillbilly Lagoon is a great idea poorly executed. I loved the monsters, I thought the acting was all pretty strong and the premise was great, the problem I had was that at a running time of almost an hour and a half, it’s about half an hour too long. From the time we (the audience) know what’s going on, to the time we learn what’s really been going on, it takes way too long! And, while I love a good hillbilly joke, the humor wears pretty thin, pretty fast. I think the filmmakers forgot that sometimes less is more and went completely wild. Now, Creature From The Hillbilly Lagoon is meant as a horror/comedy and it does fairly well, it’s really a matter of the feeling that they just liked the story so well they didn’t want to cut anything, the whole angle of military involvement could really have been left out and kept the story moving more quickly. It’s not all bad, most of the jokes are pretty good and the actors (both hillbilly and…uh…city slicker) are really good. Creature From The Hillbilly Lagoon is a great example of a filmmaker not reining himself in enough, which is pretty rare in a low budget movie. I’m giving Creature From The Hillbilly Lagoon two and a half out of four cigars, because the idea is good, but the movie doesn’t live up to it. You can check out this ‘big fish story’ for yourself by heading over to the Shock-O-Rama Cinema website, if you’re a fan of hillbillies, monsters or pretty cheesy jokes, you’ll enjoy Creature From The Hillbilly Lagoon. So, until next time, when I’ll still be wondering why my DVD player smells like fish, remember that the best movies are bad movies.