Getty and Jessie Carmichael drive out to a campsite in Shallow Creek, Louisiana to scatter their grandfathers ashes, as per his last request. While everything goes (somewhat) as planned with the ashes, when Jessie (King Jeff) wanders off into the woods to use the bathroom prior to their drive home, he stumbles upon a cannibal cult eating their latest victim. As he runs away, he drops the keys to the truck, and he and Getty (Gorio) are forced to retreat into the woods to find shelter from the cult. Which they do, when they come across a house filled with surveillance cameras, two loaded guns and the decomposing bust of a dead man in the bathtub. Shallow Creek Cult is a mix of different filmmaking ideas, reminiscent of The Blair Witch Project, as opening and ending scenes are set up like a documentary, and Paranormal Activity, with the usage of found footage of Jessie and Getty s adventure from their decision to scatter the ashes to the end, from both their own camera and eventually the surveillance cameras at the cabin in the woods. In that way, as Getty and Jessie are menaced as they hunker down to survive the night, we get to see much of it... sort of. Some of the more gruesome events happen off-camera, or are explained (such as Jessie s discovery of the cult eating their victim), which is understandable as much for the potential budgetary reasons as for the potential creative reasons, but we often get a glimpse of the aftermath, so gore-aficionados won t be entirely disappointed. I ve now seen a number of films over the last year setting up the found footage that follows as police evidence, so I have to be honest that I had a here we go again moment when that occurred in the opening but Shallow Creek Cult utilizes the found footage well, in that it doesn t use it as an opportunity for Jessie and Getty to mug for the camera. Instead, the film just moves along, and Getty happens to be filming as much as he can because he feels that no one would believe them, should they survive, so they need evidence. Now, I wasn t in love with the way the film ends, though for once we have a found footage film that actually makes it pretty clear how that footage got found, which is nice. Also, for the most part, the pacing doesn t lag, though scenes in the cabin do become repetitious (there s only so many times you can see the cult on the surveillance monitor, hear them squealing about and then watch Jessie or Getty check it out). There is enough suspense or at least interest in what exactly is going on, or perhaps why, that can deliver you through, though, and the film doesn t overstay its welcome at under-70 minutes long. Plus, credit must be given to King Jeff and Gorio for not only acting in the film but, if you read the credits, doing practically everything else too. Overall, despite the usage of familiar horror aesthetics and techniques, Shallow Creek Cult manages enough originality and horror suspense to make it worth checking out. Again, I wish it had ended differently but that doesn t mean I didn t enjoy myself along the way. That said, if you ve grown weary of the found footage film, this isn t going to do too much to make you feel differently. --Mark Bell, filmthreat.com
One of the better found footage movies I have seen and the Hollins brothers are right on the mark. --Mike Lyddon, Reel Progress
Zombies, torture porn, and found footage are three horror subgenres that I've grown especially sick of over this past decade (as have film festival directors). So when I came across Shallow Creek Cult -- described as found footage about two guys who discover a cannibal cult in the woods -- I was not hopeful. It sounded like a combo of found footage and torture porn, a blend that has yielded some of the worst horror films of recent memory. But I was happily surprised -- Shallow Creek Cult turned out not to be torture porn. It has little gore, instead using story and lighting to create a creepy atmosphere -- along with genuine surprises and engaging characters. In some ways Shallow Creek Cult resembles The Last Exorcism, one of the better found footage horror films. Both films draw authenticity and ambiance from their Louisiana locales. And both films surprise us with sudden and unexpected Lovecraftian turns. But if The Last Exorcism's $2,000,000 budget is considered low by Hollywood standards (and it is), then Shallow Creek Cult's $2,000 budget is positively micro -- a term often used for today's new breed of grassroots, regional filmmakers. What do you get for $2,000? Mostly two guys with a video camera, in the woods and then inside a house. That's all The Blair Witch Project had to offer, and, as with that seminal film, Shallow Creek writer/director King Jeff demonstrates that effective scares can be achieved with story, acting, and lighting alone. Jeff's story is simple. Two guys visit a lonely campsite. One of them stumbles upon some cultists while they're feasting on human flesh. The cultists pursue the guys into a house. Throughout the night, the guys try to protect themselves while the cultists try to break in and get them.Its ending defies the usual formula in several ways, but Shallow Creek Cult's biggest asset is its creepy turn when one of the men discovers that the cultists might not be human. That revelation evokes the moment in Jeepers Creepers when the killer -- who we'd thought was a typical crazed slasher -- suddenly sprouts demon wings. While Shallow Creek's makeup effects are not as impressive as those in Jeepers Creepers, Jeff knows how to stretch what little he has. His monsters' hands and faces look like those 1950s rubber suit monsters (see below), but we don't notice it so much because we only catch glimpses of them, in the dark or on low-resolution TV security cam monitors. That, and our willing suspension of disbelief, allows for a creepy/scary viewing experience. The two men are played by King Jeff and Gorio, his brother. Thair acting is not all that bad. Their lines are delivered so casually, they sound improvised on set, rather than scripted. Jeff says he was able to keep his budget low because "We did all the camerawork, editing, music, even the animation at the end." All the main parts were played by Jeff and his brother -- the two leads and the (masked) cult members. "Where I run out to shoot the cult member on camera, that cult member was me. Ah, the magic of editing! --hollywoodinvestigator.com
About the Director
King Jeff is the owner of Louisiana based motion picture production company JeTi FILMS, LLC and has produced and directed several award winning shorts and feature films including Bang, The Murder Men and Grip:A Criminal's Story.