On Shaky Ground

unearthed I watched a movie today on FearNET called Unearthed. It’s about a small Arizona town cut off from the rest of the world when a tanker carrying the fuel for the only gas station has an accident and all the gas is burned. The town sheriff begins to determine something strange is going on when animals and people begin being mutilated.

The basic set-up isn’t complicated. The plot isn’t tough to figure out either. If you’ve seen Alien, Jaws, or pretty much any horror movie you know the premise. A small band of survivors isolated with a monster of tremendous power and frightening as all get-out.

The movie was pretty bad. I don’t need to tell you the sheriff is a drunk because of an incident a year before involving a little girl who died. The sheriff blames herself and drinks to forget or calm or insert-your-own-excuse here. Of course the

incident is played back in a series of ill-devised flashbacks of a couple seconds each. (Of course it was an accident and the sheriff wasn’t to blame. We learn this right before the end of the movie.)

What I will tell you is, I’m sick to death of this cinematographic trick of shaking the hell out of the camera during filming. Holding it by hand, deliberately rattling it, whatever they’re doing. I think it’s supposed to emulate the realistic feeling of being in the scene the way it did when Steven Spielberg used the device during the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan, but all it does in these cases is make a bad movie worse. TV shows use it too and

I’m tired of it. JUST SHOOT THE SCENE, dammit! If you don’t want the audience to be able to see what the hell’s going on why make a movie at all?!

A lot of the movie is filmed in dim lighting too. Not a good choice. And the CGI looked like a couple of students from a local community college’s computer animation program did the work. The lighting didn’t match the environment, the monster was not believable (not to mention being pretty much a modification of the creature from Ridley Scott’s classic, the aforementioned Alien), and the characters? Well, let’s just say it’s not a good idea to use stereotypes as characters in fiction, either written or visual.

So I wasted a good hour and a half of my life watching this dog and all its fleas. I don’t recommend you do the same. *Sigh*


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8 thoughts on “On Shaky Ground

  1. Don’t you hate it when the scenery is darkened — ON PURPOSE! My aging eyes aren’t what they used to be and these darkened scenes really frustrate me. As for the shaky camera, I think that started with “Blair Witch.” It gave me a headache then and still does. Thanks for the review . . . I’ll steer clear of this one!

    Merry Christmas Eve!

    Yes, I hate the darkened-so-much-you-can’t-see-what’s-going-on scenes. Maybe it WAS Blair Witch instead of SPR. Whichever, it’s ANNOYING and WAAAAAAY overdone. And Merry Christmas to you and yours! 🙂

  2. At first, some of the details you described about this movie reminded me of one of my all-time favourite movies. It stars Kevin Bacon. He enters this town and learns that dancing has been outlawed. No, wait. That was Footloose (which although is a fine picture, is not the movie I’m thinking of.) I, of course, am speaking of Tremors.
    A small village in the desert, surrounded by mountains and cliffs begins to be terrorized by something that is killing both people and animals.

    Spoiler Alert

    Kevin Bacon and (I think) Fred Ward are handymen working in this little town. All of a sudden, things start going missing. Things like horses and livestock. KB & FW try to leave town but find the only road out of town blocked by an avalanche. They also find an old man, dead of starvation on an powerlines support tower. They soon realize that a bunch of giant flesh-eating worms are making their way around the underground of the town, pulling people down and eating them whole.

    My favourite scene is where the townspeople are arguing over what to call these monsters. The debate is between “snakoids” and “graboids.” My choice is “snakoids.” Although “graboids” is also a fine choice.

    This movie was made before my image of Kevin Bacon was destroyed. You see, Kevin Bacon is a hugely underrated actor. He’s immensely talented. But he appeared in an awesome movie called Sleepers in which he plays a guard in a juvenile prison and he abuses some of the teenage inmates. His portrayal of this evil guard was just too damn good. Now, whenever I see Kevin Bacon, all I can think of his when he’s forcing himself on Brad Renfro.

    I’ll tell ya, if you wanna see two really amazing movies, rent Tremors and Sleepers. Tremors is thoroughly entertaining. It’s not scary, it is more like a throwback to classic monster movies. And Sleepers, just plain great storytelling and great acting. Sleepers, I’ve read the book too, very good.

    Oh, and Tremors predates CGI so all the special effects are done old-school style, which I love. When the monster starts reaching out to grab people, it’s not a computer image of a monster, it’s a big friggin’ prop reaching out to grab people.

    Well, I guess I know what I have to do now, go home and watch Tremors. Make that a new Christmas tradition. Which could actually work. Tremors is one of those movies that I can watch with my mother or brother. We all like that movie. It’s up there in my house with films like Raiders of the Lost Ark and Scarface.

    Ah, Tremors! Yes, the similarities to this one didn’t escape me either. But at least Tremors had the good sense to be campy and comedic. This one tried to be serious and failed. BIG.

    Merry Christmas, WIGSF!

  3. You know for a fact my friend that there are two types of horror movies, well and books to be honest that fall into either “scariest shit ever” or the classic “WTF was that?!?!” Usually no middle of the road.

    No, there’s really no middle ground anymore. 🙂

    Hey, you software whore you, I have a fix for you and maybe on a regular basis. I just launched a new blog (yeah, like 3 wasn’t enough LOL!) but this one deals strictly with software particularly good FREE stuff. Check it out and let me know what you think. I seriously came right here after posting so the first one has been up maybe 5 mins. You can be my very first commenter though let me have it, I can take it and the blog down if it is crap but you might be surprised. 🙂

    Delaney’s Top Software Picks


  4. Thanks for the heads up! It will make me cautious as I turn on the tv to veg for awhile. Just got indoors from a “blue norther,” which is apparently what Texans call this change from 75 degrees yesterday to 31 and slushy snow today. The change made our first and last Christmas shopping trip for the year quite memorable.

    Your description of the movie reminded me of the old Wayne’s World. As Wayne strips to get into bed with Tia Carrere, he holds up a sign that says, “Gratuitous sex.” Not much different from gratuitous horror, except the latter seems more . . . prurient!

    HA! Never saw Wayne’s World, but that sounds like a good description. Merry Christmas and God bless you and yours, Berna!

    • Wait . . . Wayne’s World is a classic! Perhaps you’re too young . . .

      HAHAHA! Oh, no no no — “young” and I parted company many, many years ago. I remember the movie well. In fact, I can remember Saturday Night Live BEFORE Mike Meyers and Dana Carvey, so it’s not my youth. I was young when Jeff Spicoli taught us about “bogus” and Phoebe Cates wowed us in her bikini for Fast Times at Ridgemont High, but Wayne’s World? I just … lost interest in those types of movies by the time it came along. 🙂

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