Tony Jopia’s (Crying Wolf, Deadtime) new movie, Creatures, is being called “Gremlins meets Kill Bill meets Shaun of the Dead.” That’s a lot to ask of a movie that was probably made for less money than an original poster from any of those three movies would cost you. But Jopia did make the killer alien rabbit movie Cute Little Buggers, which was cheap but fun. Can he do the same with a movie that sounds more like “Gremlins meets Critters meets ET on the Night of Creeps”?
The trip to the observatory of Dr. Serling’s (Romain Barbey) astronomy class is rudely stopped when a sheep’s head hits the window of their bus. When they go outside to see what’s going on, they find a crashed spaceship and a small furry creature they call Gizmo, er, Mumpy. But things soon get creepy when they find a group of dead sheep and Akane (Rina Saito, Tokyo Ghoul, Black Rat) finds that their driver is also dead. Until he returns as a zombie. It looks like Mumpy isn’t the only alien here, but the other ones aren’t nearly as friendly or cute.
In the end, they find refuge in an old manor house that Colin owns (Derek Frood, Poldark, Parasitus). Can they protect themselves from the invaders with only his collection of old weapons?
Creatures look and feels like it was made to be a movie from the 1980s. Even though the same people who made the puppets for The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance worked on this, it looks a lot more like Hobgoblins or Ghoulies than Gremlins.
“Creatures is for people who liked small monster movies from the 1980s. It really has a little bit of everything: action, comedy, sci-fi thrills, and a lot of blood. It’s a true love letter to the movies I watched as a kid.”
Producer Stu Jopia
There is a wide range of effects on the creatures themselves. Mumpy’s cuteness helps hide the fact that he’s just a puppet. You can tell that the aliens chasing him are puppets because you can feel the latex that they are made of. The puppetry is also of different quality. Shots where the puppeteers are easy to hide work well, but ones where the puppets jump at their victims are funny.
It looks like CGI was used for the shots of groups of them in the open. The best thing I can say about them is that they’re better than the awful CGI spaceship at the start of the movie. Even though it’s supposed to be funny, the reaction of the soon-to-be-headless sheep and the other CGI gore make things worse. Some practical kills, on the other hand, are pretty good.
Tony Jopia, Andrew Fawn, and Stu Jopia (Good Tidings, Dawn of the Dead) wrote the script for Creatures. It is awfully boring and lacks the wit and interesting characters of the movies it wants to be like. The movie’s characters don’t have any distinct traits, and the writers fall back on tired, possibly racist tropes, like making Akane, the only Asian character, a katana-wielding martial artist who can kick people in the behind.
Even the parts that were taken from other movies don’t feel like real homages. Gremlins made good use of the Christmas setting in the story, but this movie doesn’t. In the same way, the alien slug zombies from Night of the Creeps seem more like a cheap way to avoid using the alien puppets than a real reference. Creatures are less of a tribute to nostalgia and more of a soulless way to make money off of it. Or maybe it was done with good intentions but badly. In either case, it’s best to stay away.
Creatures were supposed to come out in December of last year, but it seems to have come out now without much fuss, and it’s not hard to see why. You can find out more about the movie by going to its Facebook page.