Creep Van (2012)

Rating:

USA. 2012.

Crew

Director – Scott W. McKinlay, Screenplay – Jim Bartoo, Producers – Jim Bartoo, Scott W. McKinlay & Michael Walker, Photography – Michael Walker, Music – Dennis Dreith, Visual Effects Supervisor/Makeup Effects – Erik Porn, Visual Effects – Almost Human, Inc., Production Design – Rachel Payne. Production Company – Detroit Riot Productions

Cast

Brian Kolodziej (Campbell Jackman), Amy Wehrell (Amy), Gerald Emerick (Mr Kaufman), Collin Bernsen (Swami Ted), Veronica Adkinson (Danni), Justin Kolodziej (Bob), Eric Darnell Redding (Jerome), Joel Adkins (Raimi), Michael Butler (The Creep), Jason McCoy (The Biker), Tonya Kay (Fighting Woman at Gas Station), Erik Porn (Bubba the Mechanic)


Plot

A battered white panel van is driving around Detroit. The unseen driver kills people he lures into the van using a series of deadly built-in attachments. Meanwhile, Campbell Jackman is not experiencing much luck getting a job. He puts this down to his not having a car. He gets his latest job at a car wash where the management sees potential in him. He is also attracted to the receptionist Amy. The van driver puts up a For Sale sign and Campbell calls the number. Soon after, the van driver starts to harass and stalk Campbell, killing the people around him.


Creep Van is a second film for director Scott W. McKinlay. In between some acting credits and production work on Troma films, McKinlay made his directorial debut with the Torture Porn film Gag (2006). Creep Van appears to be a film that he has financed and produced himself.

As the film tells us, a ‘creep van’ is the type of vehicle that was supposedly used to abduct and rape women during the 1970s. The premise of Creep Van has essentially been to reimagine a film like Steven Spielberg’s Duel (1971), which had Dennis Weaver being stalked by a sinister truck and its never-seen driver, as a modern slasher film. Thus the van and its driver stalks around Detroit, picks up various people and kills them with a series of novelty attachments. The tone of the film is set during the opening scene where a kid pokes his head through the van’s window, only for it to be abruptly wound up, severing the kid’s torso in two. Elsewhere, we get various set-pieces such as a loudmouth biker (Jason McCoy) who hitches a lift being impaled by a spike that comes through the back of the seat or a woman strangled by a seatbelt attachment and a mallet that then comes down and whacks her head.

These sporadic novelty gore set-pieces, which are occasionally amusing but hardly startlingly original or standout, are about all that Creep Van has going for it. The rest of the film spends its time on the mildly amusing travails of hero Brian Kolodziej as he tries to get/stay employed and ask out co-worker Amy Wehrell. Scott W. McKinlay plays these and other scenes with Kolodziej and his roommate’s girlfriend or the complications with drug-dealing guru Collin Bernsen in a comedic vein. Brian Kolodziej is the sort of actor that you would expect to be playing jock parts or parodies of guidos but does well in the central role of a likeable schmuck. The main problem is that these scenes are not terribly interesting, certainly not enough to perk the show up in between the splatter set-pieces. McKinlay even corrals Troma head Lloyd Kaufman in for a cameo as one of the car wash’s clients, although it is clear that there is a gulf between his work and the Troma staple – where Troma push for bad taste humour and drown the screen in popcorn gore, McKinlay holds his punches, never going for the throat and keeps the humour at best amiable. What you feel that Creep Van needed to work was a tone more akin to something like I Bought a Vampire Motor Cycle (1990).



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