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Rating: R (Nudity, Sexuality and Violence)
Running Time: 89 minutes
Written and Directed by: Sebastian Gutierrez
Retail Price: $24.95
Features: Creature EFX Commentary by Stan Winston and Shane Mahan, DVD-ROM weblinks, Making-of Featurette, Photo Gallery, Filmographies
Specs: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, 1.33:1 Full Screen, English Dolby Digital 5.0, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Portuguese Subtitles, Korean Subtitles, Thai Subtitles, Chinese Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selection (28 Scenes)
Released: April 2nd, 2002
"She Creature" details a couple, Angus and Lillie (played by Rufus Sewell and Carla Gugino, respectively) who work in the freak show business in turn-of-the-century United Kingdom. One day, while closing up shop in an Ireland town, they encounter a man who owns a mermaid, and refuses to give or sell it to the couple, much to the fiancÈ's dismay. Later that night, before leaving, he and his team, including a tall black man billed as a zombie straight out of the West Indies, steal the mermaid and take her to the United States where Angus will meet fame and fortune. However, they get more than they bargain for; it turns out the mermaid is much more dangerous than one could tell by looking at her (perpetually topless and flippered) figure.
As anyone who's seen Spy Kids, A Knight's Tale, and Shawshank Redemption can attest to, it's not the acting that's at fault here. While the commentary track often makes note that the budget constraints became a blessing as far as not being able to show the creature entirely enhanced the drama -- taking a page from Hitchcock -- in the end I feel they were mistaken. For example, a bigger budget could've paid for a script reworking or a director more attuned to flicks such as this -- I would've loved to see Shyamalan take this over.
Perhaps, however, it is not a budget shortcoming but lack of a specific purpose to be filled in the film. Maybe, just maybe, it would've worked better in a different format. Like... a musical. Or a vaudeville comedy. Or a Dogme 95 film, without any costumes and shot in natural light in one or two scenes all in one take. But as it stands, She Creature has none of said gimmicks, and thus fails.
Both the 1.78:1 anamorphic and 1.33:1 full-frame transfers are mostly well-done. Colors and blacks are mostly well-saturated, though I suspect the lack of a particular vibrancy in the picture is because this is a period piece and emulates the time period. Film artifacts are sometimes distracting, though I noticed no glimmer or other compression artifacts. Edge enhancement is a problem in some shots.
The audio tracks are well-mastered. Dialogue and effects are free from buzz or noise.
The commentary is in some ways better than the film. Winston, the head of special effects and a producer of the film, shares many of the secrets used to create the mermaid and in fact a certain amount of the cinematography of the feature, while Shane Mahan, a co-producer, gives a lot of insight into how the film was created, shot, and a background of the development. I'd almost suggest watching the film with the commentary track and English subtitles.
The Making-of Featurette is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen, and very poor video quality. It features an interview with writer/director Gutierrez, and shows off the work of production designer Jerry Fleming. Short and pretty shoddy. 2:20.
Four photo galleries, and unless you're familiar with the development process of the type of effects used in the film, it really doesn't explain much at all. No real relevations are gained here.
Trailers are for Creature Features (2:45), Bram Stoker's Dracula (2:35), Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1:30), Night of the Living Dead (unfortunately, the colorized, in my opinion inferior version) (1:00), and Wolf (2:00).
Simple, abridged filmographies are available for Stan Winston, Rufus Sewell, Rya Kihlstedt, and Carla Gugino. I think they just chose random people associated with the picture and grabbed a few of the IMDb listings and published them on the disc.
She Creature's best assets are the ones Gil Bellows shows in every shot of her character in the tank. If you're the type of guy that owns The Little Mermaid, Splash, and its sequel Splash, Too on DVD, then go ahead and this mermaid gem to your collection. It makes a good popcorn flick, but past that you won't be missing much if you opt to pass this one.