Today I went to the video rental store (First Run Video, in the Walker House on Main Street, Colebrook). I walked to the Horror section, closed my eyes, spun around, reached out and touched … UNEARTHED. (“The wrath of 900 years is about to awake.”)
This is apparently part of the After Dark HorrorFest 8 Films to Die For series.
So settle back, kiddies. I haven’t seen this film, or heard of it. Instead, watch along with me as a Making Light reader who is prepared to handle the worst that life can hand you. You have your go bag. Let’s go!
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
Popping popcorn. (Kettle corn! Yum!) Ejected my copy (one of A Whole Lot) of Obsession, the anti-Islamic propaganda film that was mailed in mass quantities to every registered voter in every swing state a couple of weeks ago (more on this in another post).
Racking up the video. Let’s go!
(Scary copyright warning)
Preview for The Eye (Jessica Alba). Promotion for Fear.net. Promotion for HorrorFest 2007. “Each year there are movies produced that are never seen by the public. Their content is considered too graphic, too shocking, to be seen by general audiences….” Or too lousy to turn a buck in theaters, but might as well be released direct to video….
Trailer for Wristcutters: A Love Story. Looks pretty good. “Life sucks. Love survives.”
Okay, done with the trailers. Main feature!
Only actors names I recognize in the titles are M. C. Gainey and Russell Means.
4:32. The titles are over. Extreme closups of someone turning on a water spigot during a lightning storm. The hose is leaky. (Making Light readers will know to inspect their hoses regularly, and replace leaky hoses. They’re likely to fail at inopportune times.)
The title sequence ends with someone (face has been concealed throughout) racking a shotgun and walking off-screen.
From there — we’re in a diner somewhere in the Southwest. A nice waitress is filling someone’s thermos with coffee, and talking with the guy about his dogs. A thermos of coffee is a good thing. But not much good against dehydration.
6:23 The guy is a truck driver. Big point made of his tee-shirt (that had better be important later). He’s heading out … uh oh! Something scuttled across the road (it’s dark!) and looks like he crashed. But he (like all Making Light readers) was wearing his seat belt. I sure hope he’s okay.
8:55 Uh oh. Looks like the fuel truck (which our guy was driving) has blown up. A Black Dude from Detroit in a Fancy Car has arrived at Russell Means’ gas station with the news. Russell is there with his beautiful young Native American female scientist relative (you can tell she’s a scientist because she has a microscope). No gas available at the gas station.
Making Light readers who know that Half A Tank Is Empty will be okay, because they already refueled.
Not that having all the gas in the world would have helped. The truck crash caused a power outage. And we’ve just met a beautiful young lady, prancing around in her undies. Turns out she’s the sheriff. And turns out she prefers mixing vodka with her orange juice for breakfast. Making Light readers will have their battery-operated radios, and their flashlights. And they know that alcohol and disaster don’t mix.
If this young lady could hear the background music, she’d know to switch from vodka to water.
13:43. Gee, the Southwest sure is pretty. The sheriff made it out to the crash site. We’ve met her deputy. There’s a Weird Guy with Facial Tattoos watching them with binoculars.
Sheriff isn’t wearing her hat. She should watch out for sunstroke.
17:17 The sheriff has gone to the Beautiful Young Native American’s Laboratory to ask what the strange biological sample she got from behind the truck’s grille is. The scientist says that she can’t be very helpful… at the best she can tell the species. Russell Means shows up to deliver some ancient wisdom. Sheriff gets a radio call that a wolf has eaten someone’s cattle. She heads out without buckling her seatbelt. She will not come to a good end.
(The twenty-minute mark is when the First Horror arrives in most horror movies. All foreboding up to then. I’ll keep you posted.)
20:25 Right on time! The truck driver is dead and the guy with the facial tats is performing a field-expedient autopsy on him with a Bowie knife. They guy’s guts are full of wiggling little hooked-headed worms!
(There’s also a dead cow. Oh, and we’ve just met Two Blonde Bimbos who are Lost.)
If they were Making Light readers they’d have maps and compasses. And GPS navigators.
22:41 Uh oh! A farmer has been dragged off camera! Crunching noises! Blood! And he wasn’t using the Buddy System, so no one will raise the alarm!
The bimbos (and a male hitchhiker who could get a job as a male model any time he wants) have arrived at Russell Means’ gas station. Meanwhile, the sheriff is in town, listening to the locals complain about the Wolf Problem.
27:40 And now it’s night. And the Sheriff is out at Russell Means’ gas station, where he is delivering more Ancient Wisdom. “My people do not look at it as ‘making a pot.’ To us, it is as serious as life.” Oh, and the road will be open sometime tomorrow. (What’s the matter with those guys? The road wasn’t all that badly blocked to start with. And where’s the guys from the power company? It’s only one pole.)
I sure hope there’s some gratuitous female nudity. Just sayin’.
Uh-oh! The Indian Scientist Chick has applied a dye to the sample that attaches to the DNA of any life form from any of the five kingdoms, but this sample from the truck … it doesn’t attach to it! This is “a bona fide unnatural life form!”
The tavern-keeper lady has just discovered that two of her customers have been horribly murdered. She knows right what to do: She hides behind the bar, takes a flashlight, puts it under her chin, and shines it upward. Planning to scare off the evil murderer, no doubt. Calling 9-1-1 does not cross her mind.
33:41. Tavern-lady is horribly killed (or we presume so) off-screen. She had a shotgun. She didn’t take a defensible position and wait. And since she didn’t call 9-1-1 (or make use of the CB radio in her tavern) no one knows that she was even in trouble. Making Light readers know to keep comms open, and let people know where you are and what’s going on.
40:47 The guy with the facial tats showed up and had a long conversation with Russell Means, in Indian, without subtitles, which I think is cheating. And now Blonde Bimbo #1 has been horribly murdered (without even taking off her shirt). Russell Means has also been Horribly Murdered (I guess they couldn’t afford him for the whole movie). His gas station is burning down (apparently he stored a lot of gasoline on the inside) and right now Blonde Bimbo #2, Handsome Hitchhiker, the Drunken Sheriff, and the Beautiful Scientist have escaped in the Blondes’ Pickup Truck. We’ve seen the monster: It looks like a combination of Gorgo and a Praying Mantis. These folks are using good Making Light decisions: If you don’t understand what’s happening, back off until you do understand.
Oh, yeah, and the Black Dude is with them. Bet he doesn’t get to see the final credits.
The Sheriff is tearing up her shirt to make a bandage for her leg. There’s some hope of Entertainment Value yet. If she’d had a proper first aid kit she wouldn’t have had to do that. But what’s this? The pickup truck has just had a mechanical breakdown!
45:17 Remember the deputy? He’s just been Horribly Killed just as he was about to find the Dead Farmer from 22:41
Plucky Sheriff (who apparently has a Dark Secret in her past) and her party head out on foot. They approach a camp….
It’s the camp of the guy with the facial tats (whose name, apparently, is Kyle). He isn’t there. But there is the opening to a cave, so our heroes decide to go spelunking. The Beautiful Young Scientist informs them that this is an ancient burial ground.
Spelunking, at night, without equipment, without anyone knowing where they are … bad idea.
Kyle (or maybe it’s Cale) just showed up with a shotgun. “University said I was crazy … they stripped my funding … but I was right!”
Blonde Bimbo #2 has been bitten by a rattlesnake while reaching into a hole between two rocks. In the desert. At night.
We now know what the monster is: A biological probe sent by an advanced civilization to gather DNA. But! Kyle (or Cale) knows what to do! He’ll make a poison to stop it. But he needs the help of the Beautiful Young Scientist to do it. The “Oh, Come On!” factor is getting high. Making Light readers would have long-since decamped.
At the 1:03:26 point, Bimbo #2, the Black Dude (who was shot by Kyle for reasons that I still don’t fully understand; fortunately it was only a flesh wound), and the Beautiful Scientist have decamped in Kyle’s SUV. Kyle (who managed to manufacture the poison, but threw away the dart gun for reasons that I absolutely don’t understand) and the Drunken Sheriff are still running around the caves, as is the monster. The Handsome Hitchhiker has been Horribly Killed.
You have to be kidding! The SUV has just run out of gas!
Fortunately, in sight of Rob Horn’s ranch. Rob is the guy who had the “wolf trouble” back in the first reel. Oh — I was mistaken. The drunken sheriff is with this group. The Hot Chick who’s still back in the cave is the Beautiful Young Native American Scientist.
1:10:57 Oh noes! Everyone at Rob Horn’s Ranch is dead, Horribly Killed and Mutiliated, except for colorful ol’ Western Rancher Rob (played by M. C. Gainey, who’s been doing business at that stand for a long time). Meanwhile, back at the cave, the Beautiful Young Scientist, with aid of a handy Geiger counter, discovers that uranium is the catalyst that makes the poison work. By great good luck the rocks here are full of uranium.
Making Light readers would probably not have a Geiger counter. It’s heavy, expensive, and single-purpose. (We would, however, know how to make a field-expedient cloud chamber, should the need arise.)
By great good luck, the sheriff is able to take the battery from the out-of-gas SUV and put it in the old farm truck of Rob’s that hasn’t been driven in a year (and therefore its battery is dead).
Meanwhile, by even greater good luck, the Beautiful Young Scientist has a complete uranium extraction plant in her lab back at Russell Means’ Gas Station. And by still greater good luck, it didn’t burn down when the gas station burned. How exactly they got there, I don’t know. All the vehicles are accounted for, and are somewhere else, and I got the impression that the camp was driving distance but not walking distance from the gas station.
1:18:27 Told ya that the Black Guy wouldn’t get to see the final credits! Oh, and Rob is dead too (off camera). But Bimbo and Sheriff are alive, got the other vehicle working, and are driving off!
Our Intrepid Scientist is getting uranium by using an angle grinder on a chunk of uranium ore. Who knew it was so easy?
1:28:58. That’s it! Barely feature length. Kyle is Horribly Killed. Drunken sheriff is Horribly Killed (but not before she can inject uranium into the creature, destroying it). Blonde Bimbo (who is All Better, since Kyle thoughtfully had some anti-venom in a cooler at his camp) and Beautiful Scientist drive off into the dawn. Neither one says “This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship,” though that would improve the movie immensely. No one at all whipped off her shirt (though that would have improved the movie even more).
A great deal took place in the dark, which made the special effects budget smaller.
And that’s the end. Roll the credits. One beast (with some additional inexplicable spider-beasts, probably there because spider-beasts were so much fun in Cloverfield), a good deal of blood, no breasts, no car chases.
Red Mike says “Maybe a different movie next time. This one … well, direct to DVD.”
Goodness. No wonder I had such trouble telling the characters apart. We had characters named Kale, Kelly, Caya, Charlie, Curtis, and Carla.