Thomas Berdinski-il diretto, writer and producer of low budget indies “The Italian Zombie Movie”, “The Giant Rubber Monster Movie” and “Noirmageddon – A Mark Anvil Thriller”
I have to start this review of â€œDonâ€™t Let the Riverbeast Get Youâ€ with a couple of confessions:
1) I like to go into movies without a lot of background, so I had no idea that the â€œRiverbeastâ€ was by the makers of â€œFreaky Farleyâ€ until I started to recognize the cast about 10 minutes in, and;
2) I didnâ€™t know what to make of â€œFreaky Farleyâ€ when I saw it a year or so ago. I wasnâ€™t sure what the filmmakers were going for in that one. Was it supposed to be funny, scary, both, neither? The sensibilities of the script were too childlike to be scary, and it wasnâ€™t funny enough to be a comedy. I just had no idea what experience the filmmakers were going for. Sadly, when it was over I felt like it just wasnâ€™t very good.
So, last week as I watched â€œRiverbeastâ€, I was initially concerned when I started to recognize the â€œFreaky Farleyâ€ cast but that QUICKLY changed. â€œRiverbeastâ€ was clearly tongue-in-cheek from the very get-go. The title alone lets you know youâ€™re entering b-movie territory. You see the appropriately cheesy monster right off the bat and you know this isnâ€™t something to take seriously. There is no confusion this time. Youâ€™re ready for something funny in a b-movie world. (Hopefully, when you put the movie in thatâ€™s what youâ€™re in the mood for. If not, put it away until you are.)
A parade of unusually quirky characters follows, played by a range of actors; some pretty good, some not good but cast that way on purpose, I believe. Given surreal plot situations and inane dialog to deliver that makes you think it was written by a junior high kid, the actors play it as straight as anyone could. This gives the movie the tone of that classic homage to 50â€™s sci-fi â€œThe Lost Skeleton of Cadavaraâ€ (and if you havenâ€™t seen that one by Larry Blamire, youâ€™re really missing out!) Iâ€™m not saying â€œRiverbeastâ€ as quite good as that one, but the filmmakers were channeling a similar muse, I think. And it worked. The humor starts off just mild but builds slowly and surely until that moment when the local prep school tutors have their band back together and theyâ€™re singing â€œWeâ€™re all havin’ fun doin’ the River Mud Shuffleâ€, and you find yourself laughing out loud (and playing it again and again!)
One good thing about â€œRiverbeastâ€ is it has me wanting to go back and take another look at â€œFreaky Farleyâ€. These two movies take place in the same surreal world. Now that the sensibilities of this world have been fleshed out for me, I might enjoy it. In any event, I did enjoy â€œRiverbeastâ€ a lot and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys Larry Blamireâ€™s humorous homages. LET the Riverbeast get you â€“ You wonâ€™t be sorry!
Be ready…coming soon