Craving is an indie creature feature that exceeds expectations with a blood-soaked extravaganza

by Ed Blackadder

Jason Horton’s Craving is a kindred spirit to John Gulager’s 2005 gore-a-thon, Feast.

Both movies open with an isolated bar and a colorful group of regulars going about the business of drinking. Both movies have a cast of characters who have their days ruined by interlopers on a monster hunt, wherein both stories find the remaining characters battling for survival. In fact, the stories are so similar that if they wound up in the court of creature feature plagiarism, Feast would likely devour Craving.

With all of that being said, and moving judgment back to the screen, if you enjoyed Feast, you will definitely find Craving well-worth the watch.

The budget for Craving is listed at $100,000 on IMDB and that seems about right based on what’s on screen. This is an ultra-low budget movie that makes great use of its limited funds.

The movie features a few recognizable faces from the low-budget indie horror genre with its most high profile actor being Felissa Rose, who has found her way to horror legend status in the years since 1983’s Sleepaway Camp.

This is a mix of a creature feature and small space horror. As the story starts, the viewer is introduced to an array of characters within the bar. Then another group enters the bar. Still, there is another group outside of the bar.

This is an ensemble cast without a primary lead. And, the weakest point of the movie is that most of the characters blend together, and are not particularly likeable (not that they are supposed to be), but the viewer isn’t really given a protagonist to hitch their emotions too, but rather, an expectation that a monster will emerge and kill them all. In that regard, Craving is reminiscent of 80’s and 90’s slashers where the killer is the real protagonist and everyone else serves as fodder for creative and bloody deaths.

No spoilers here, the trailer reveals the basic premise. One of the people within the two groups inside the bar will turn into a people-killing and intestine-spilling beast from beyond. The people outside the bar are intent on killing that creature, even if it means everyone else is collateral damage.

A sprinkling of flashbacks give some backstory and prepare us for what’s to come. It’s an effort to make viewers care about the characters, but really we only care about the monster.

Aside from Felissa Rose, the most memorable performance comes from co-writer Gregory Blair (who penned the script along with Horton). Blair’s performance is light and fun, filled with scene stealing facial expressions.

Horton does an admirable job directing the large ensemble cast, keeping the characters interesting, and maintaining a fast-paced story that never gets bogged down in the multitude of characters.

However, the real hero of Craving is cinematographer Sophia Cacciola. Handling a crowd for a director of photography can be an immense challenge, but Cacciola and Horton are able to stage the characters in interesting ways that always seems intentional and is never boring. The lighting, especially given the budget, is well done, and the shots are artistically composed, something often lacking in low budget movies.

When the monster does finally emerge, Craving is a rewarding blood-soaked extravaganza that sinks every dollar of its budget into the splatters and spills, spewing across the screen.

Ed’s Grade: B