This appears to be aiming for a leg-up on The Descent bandwagon and its theme of “chicks vs. cave-dwelling monsters in a remote wilderness”; though there’s only one of each here, rather than it being a team sport. “Troubled young ranger” Danielle St. Clair (Vincent) is atop a remote tower, watching out for fires, but a careless use of dynamite unleashes an ancient Indian evil that’s been trapped in a cave for centuries. Fortunately, despite said centuries, the monster still knows how to disable satellite dishes and trash Jeeps, as well as ripping the heads off everyone in the area it meets – except for St. Clair, of course, whom it merely terrorizes. The inevitable native American (Schweig) gets wheeled on for one scene of indigestible exposition, trotting out the usual cliches about how we’ve lost touch with our inner child, or some such New Age guff. Not that the beast cares much, I was pleased to see.
Wholly deficient on just about every level, it sent both myself and Chris to sleep, independently, just after the half-way mark. Though things did pick up thereafter, that might have been because we’d been refreshed by 8 hours’ sleep and a bowl of Wheaties. The pacing is particularly bad, with far too much weight given to Danielle’s past trauma, which is of no interest or relevance, and is not exactly helped by the depressing, sub-Tori Amos songs on the soundtrack (the director’s wife, I believe). The title is particularly appropriate, as the viewer is also kept hanging around, waiting for something entertaining to happen. There’s pretty thin pickings on that front, I’m afraid.
When Danielle finally decides to leave the forest, it’s a bit more energetic, though has nothing to offer beyond reheated leftovers you’ve seen before. I mean, when she runs over the thing in her truck, is anyone surprised when the body isn’t there? Not to say the idea isn’t without potential, as was shown in The Descent – and, possibly even more so, in Dog Soldiers. However, when your script is as flawed and uninteresting as here, a film really needs to pull up its socks in the areas of acting and direction. It Waits is mediocre on these fronts, at best, and as a result, the whole thing fizzles out like a damp squib.
Dir: Steven R. Monroe
Stars: Cerina Vincent, Dominic Zamprogna, Greg Kean, Eric Schweig