Swamp Devil sounds like a derogatory term for someone who lives in a bayou. I may have to start using that term from now on. As I’m getting sidetracked before the review has even begun, let’s talk about the movie, shall we? Swamp Devil appeals to me because it does things rather differently from most monster horror movies, and these little factors actually contribute to the plot. I daresay it’s one of the few obscure horror movies that deserves a little more attention.
Melanie Blaime receives a telephone call from an “old friend” named Jimmy Fuller, informing her that her estranged father is dying and in need of her. She doesn’t recall Jimmy, nor does she want to see her father, but after some convincing, she agrees to head to Gibbington. When she arrives, Jimmy reveals that Howard Blaime is on the run from the law because he is suspected of murder. They go to Melanie’s old home and settle in, receiving some grief from the local authorities before everyone starts being cooperative.
As the story moves along, there are several very conspicuous hints that Jimmy keeps secrets and is a bad liar. Since no antagonist is named aside from Melanie’s father, one can only assume that he has something to do with all the bayou murders. After seeing someone murdered by a giant plant creature, and then seeing Jimmy come back from who knows where with dirt all over his hands, you begin to suspect him of shenanigans. It’s an obvious twist, so I’m not spilling too many beans by letting you know, okay?
One thing that I really like about Swamp Devil is Howard Blaime’s place in it all. He was blamed for the death of a young girl, and a few of the local men are hunting him down with loaded guns. His story detailing a swamp monster was quickly dismissed as delusional drivel, but he is proven right when said beastie rears his head in front of one of the vigilantes. Basically, the “I’m not crazy” line is tossed aside long before the film actually concludes. Sweet relief.
The second good thing Swamp Devil’s got going for it is that the monster isn’t a mindless killing machine. It actually has a reason behind its actions and is capable of critical thought. You don’t see a lot of that. Friday the 13th, Hellraiser, The Grudge, The Ring, all the antagonists in those movies kill because screw the protagonists that’s why. This time around, Mister Branches actually gives a reason for murdering so many people. In the end, it isn’t justified, but it’s still a nice change.
Killing Mister Branches isn’t possible with guns or knives, which makes ending the movie on a good note rather difficult. Thus, for some reason, Tree Bro can’t step outside the city limits. If he does, I guess he explodes or something.
I was eating a banana during most of Howard Blaime’s scenes, and it was really tasty. Howard was by far my favorite character. He was the old, jaded, thinks-on-his-feet type guy who knows how to get stuff done. Thanks to him, I thoroughly enjoyed my banana.
Char of Horrorphilia likes Swamp Devil, though mentions that most everyone else hated it. After checking multiple review sites… yeah. A lot of people just hate it. So fuck those guys! You should listen to me, because I know my movies. Swamp Devil is a good watch. It might not be the “watch it over and over” type, but it’s a worthwhile once-off at the very least. Read another positive review so you don’t fall for the critical mass consensus: http://www.horrorphilia.com/2011/07/25/swamp-devil-2008-movie-review/