On a remote Caribbean island, there’s a government facility where the head scientist, Dr. Bishop, works on a project which includes a shark and human hybrid with the ability to adapt to any environment. Richland was sent to visit the facility, and is lead inside by Peniston. While Richland is being shown some of the dolphin/shark hybrids, the human shark hybrid breaks free from its tank and kills Dr. Bishop. Richland orders Peniston to kill it, but for some reason he instead traps the creature in a containment unit and dumps it in the sea.
Then we head forwards in time, to 25 years later, when a marine biologist (Dr. Chase) is working on the same island. The locals are not so fond of him, with his obvious care for sharks and his willingness to protect them, and he doesn’t exactly earn any extra stars of approval when he botches Ben Medeira’s fishing trip by cutting loose a pregnant great white shark that one of his customers had on the hook. Meanwhile, things are stirring up as another local, the cocky fisherman Puckett, retrieves a containment unit, and yep, it’s that one containment unit, which has been in the sea for 25 years. By doing so he accidentally and unwittingly releases the creature (which was alive for 25 years inside that containment unit…) and it’s hungry, of course. Medeira, while trying to lure back the pregnant white shark by throwing bloody fish pieces into the water so he can get it back on his customer’s hook, ends up as the creature’s first victim. The locals believe it’s the great white that killed him, the one that Dr. Chase set free, and despite his objections after inspecting Medeira’s body no one will listen to him. In perfectly good timing, Dr. Chase’s ex-wife, their son and the ex wife’s sea lion Robin comes to the island for a visit. While trying to solve the mystery behind Medeira’s death, which Dr. Chase is convinced could not have been done by a shark, the crazy Peniston (who is called “Werewolf” by the locals since he keeps howling at people for no apparent reason) sees the empty containment unit and realizes that the creature has been set loose.
Creature is a miniseries directed by Stuart Gillard, and it’s based on Peter Benchley’s novel White Shark. As you probably know, there’s another shark movie based on one of Peter Benchley’s novels, the famous Jaws which is a classic and probably one of the very, very few shark horror movies that can be deemed to be good. Not saying there aren’t many entertaining shark movies, there’s plenty of so-bad-it’s-good and pure comedies out there, but very few shark movies with a serious tone have been even close to successful on the same level. So, if you expect Creature to be in the same vein as Jaws, you’d be sorely disappointed. It’s slightly cheesy, typical B-class creature feature, but not without entertainment value. For example, the creature itself is pretty well made. No surprise there, seeing as Stan Winston and his studio is behind the special effects. We do not see all that much of it, though, but the few scenes where it’s properly included looks pretty neat. And I do say properly, because some scenes with the creature are filmed/edited in such an inexplicably distorted, unclear and strange way. This would have made sense if the effects were crap (considering it’s a well-known “trick” in some movies with very low-quality special effects to make those scenes as quick and confusing as possible) but here it makes no sense at all. Oh well. The acting overall is decent enough, we have Craig T. Nelson (the father in Poltergeist) as Dr. Chase, and it was fun to see Giancarlo Esposito in the role as Peniston/the crazed “werewolf”. Esposito is now mostly known for his role as Gus in the Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul TV series, and even had a role as the dictator villain in the video game Far Cry 6. Here, however, he mainly plays something completely different from the stiff-faced villainous type he’s mostly known for.
The movie was filmed partly on the island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean. (As is mostly the case when a movie or series is based on a book, there’s differences, and in this case the material from the book has apparently pretty much gone through a complete reworking. For example, in this miniseries the US Navy creates the creature during the Vietnam war, while in the book the nazi’s created it during WW2, and the story is set to happen on Long Island instead). Aside from the tropical surroundings, we do get some enjoyable sets, including an abandoned laboratory partly underwater, tunnels, and a foggy swamp. Yeah, sure, it’s not great, the book is probably better (I haven’t read it, just a hunch), and it’s sometimes unintentionally cheesy, but at least it’s entertaining. So grab the popcorn, put your brain on standby, as this B-creature feature will by no means scare you or astonish you, but with its mish-mash of a human hybrid monster, government cover-ups, family struggles, occasional nonsense spritzed with a Caribbean flavour, it’s a typical B-movie that’s entertaining on a popcorn level if you can take it for what it is.
Director: Stuart Gillard
Writers: Rockne S. O’Bannon
Country & year: USA, Canada, 1998
Actors: Craig T. Nelson, Kim Cattrall, Colm Feore, Cress Williams, Michael Reilly Burke, Michael Michele, Matthew Carey, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Blu Mankuma, John Aylward, Giancarlo Esposito