★★★ out of ★★★★★
Directed by Brad Rego.
While no one on the Scariest Things Podcast is a licensed cryptozoologist, it’s fair to say that we all have an interest in this murky science. There’s even a few of us — gasp — that might actual believe in the cryptids! When this most recent offering popped up at the Another Hole in the Head Film fest we knew we had to search it out.
Cryptid, directed by Brad Rego (The Killing of Jacob Marr) is fun investigative jaunt at the theaters. Nothing terribly groundbreaking here, but a solid journalistic journey in search of an alligator-esque cryptid terrorizing the good citizens in rural Maine.
Focusing on an odd couple-like pairing with ample Sam/Diane sexual tension, Rego creates an atmosphere of intrigue an empathy. Max (Nicholas Baroudi) and Harriet (Ellen Adair) accidentally stumble on a series of gruesome — but not too gruesome — animal attacks. While the community suspects a bear, the creature is undiscriminating in its attacks. Horses, dogs, and even humans are all fair game!
Max plays the down-on-his-luck reporter at the very end of a series of promises, failed deadlines, and unfulfilled commitments. His parter Harriet on the other hand is an up-and-comer with true photojournalistic integrity and and eye for truth. The duo quibbles, debates, and discusses the need to simultaneously get out of rural Maine and desire to break this once in a lifetime monster spook story.
While both Max and Harriet present as truly authentic and engaging characters throughout Cryptid, there’s far too much banter and far too much journalistic tête-à-tête. A little is fine, but at some point the constant dialogue removes the audience from the terror being brought to rural Maine. In several instances the banter actually brings the film to an abrupt halt at a time when there should be more focus on the cryptid and its gore-having ways.
Cryptid does eventually get to the bottom of the story, and there are some massive shockers along the way, but it takes an awfully long time to get to the punch line. The final battle with the cryptid does eventually come, but it’s obscured by funky lighting and dark cryptid caverns. It’s obvious that the cryptid is a staid bit of practical effects, but it’s effective, endearing, and pretty dam freaky.
While Cryptid suffers from some minor issues, the end product is a good one that’s filled with pretty solid performances and some decent practical effects. On a rather exciting note, stick around for end of the film…we just might be seeing a Cryptid 2.
Cryptid is likely PG13 and currently streaming at the Another Hole in the Head Film Festival.