When did Stephen J. Cannell start producing horror? This is a guy whose shows I grew up on (they were pretty much unavoidable, seeing as how he seemed to have created every one-hour drama made between 1974 and 1985), with series like “The Rockford Files”, “The Commish”, and, of course, “The A-Team” nary showing a hint of Cannell’s current infatuation with the horror genre. Yet here we are, talking about the second (Cannell also created the recent and abysmal Constantine rip-off, DEMON HUNTER) Cannell horror production of 2005.
Come to think of it, the better question would be why Stephen J. Cannell started producing horror? At least as evidenced by It Waits, a painfully slow and melodramatic monster movie in which Cerina Vincent plays Danielle - an alcoholic park ranger tormented by a drunk-driving incident that claimed the life of her best friend. Danielle now spends much of her day in a tree house, sipping on booze, crying in the corner, and talking with her dead friend’s African Grey parrot.
A quick aside here; don’t you just love how birds in the movies are always these talkative and intelligent creatures, with vocabularies that rival most adults, and reasoning skills to match? You know what birds really do? They squawk. They squawk from morning until night time, unless you keep them covered in a sheet. If they aren’t squawking, they are biting everything that comes within biting distance. This includes the fingers of small children and adults, many of whom are under the impression that birds are, in fact, just like the benevolent creatures they are portrayed as on film.
Birds are nothing more than nature’s tape recorders, with beaks that can chop off a finger with the strength and precision of a freshly sharpened pair of bolt-cutters. Do not be fooled. Birds are not smart, friendly, or remotely good pets. That is why God made them taste so good.
Anyway, Danielle has picked the wrong time and place to go into a drunken depression, as some science-type folk have unearthed an ancient evil that not only feeds on human flesh, but is also something of a prankster. The beastie rivals Jason Voorhees when it comes to spring-loaded “expose my victim” traps, and, for an ancient evil, is actually pretty good with cars (or, at least, knows that opening the hood and smashing the engine to bits will keep Danielle around for the duration of his killing spree). It takes about forty-five minutes before we even get a glimpse of the creature, but, when you finally see him, you’ll understand why director Stephen R. Monroe was so sheepish about showing him in the first place.
It Waits isn’t as awful as much of the Sci-Fi Channel-style films that have been flooding the market of late, but, in light of just how bad some of those films are, that’s hardly high praise. I will say that this film has decent production values, Vincent is very easy on the eyes (and good thing she is, as we spend more time watching her mope than anything else), and the creepy woodsy locales make for some occasionally tense moments. There’s also a decent amount of carnage on display here, even though much of what we see is in such quick glimpses that it’s not much more shocking than an average episode of C.S.I..
Anchor Bay presents It Waits with a commentary track featuring Monroe and Vincent, a short making-of featurette, and a “theatrical” trailer (which is something of a misnomer seeing as how I seriously doubt this trailer was ever shown in a theater).
It Waits…and so can you, really.