In a remote national park Danielle St. Claire, a solo park ranger on Tower Duty in the back country, is drinking heavily. Danni's depressed because her best friend was killed in a drunk driving accident. What's the best way to drown out the memories of killing your best friend by being an idiot and getting behind the wheel while sauced? Drinking more booze by yourself right? I didn't think so, but Danni sure did.
Anyways, two weeks before Danni's stint in the remote tower a group of college students on an archaeological field trip stumble across a hidden cave. Having blasted the door of the cave open, they begin to explore deeper to find many strange paintings on the wall, and that this little hole seems to be occupied. Soon, their corpses are strewn across the forest floor. Now Danni is alone in the woods, her boyfriend has hiked off to find some help, and she finds herself facing a new demon (opposed to her personal ones)
Judging this book by its cover, "It Waits" looks to be a seriously dark and twisted monster flick with a hell of a lot of promise. As I reached the twenty minute mark having seen nothing but a crying drunk girl whining about her dead friend and making it with her park ranger boyfriend out in the boonies, I began to give up hope.
Don't get me wrong; I'm a fan of sex & naked girls. But when faced with a DVD cover like the one above, I expect to see some blood & guts and general mayhem before we get to the token boob shot. When you throw in the romance angle and the endless crying and whining about killer her girlfriend, it feels tacked on and frankly rather boring. Show me the goods for sure, just don't make me wade through this mushy crap to get there! We're horror fans. Not Lifetime Movie fans.
Fortunately, once you wade through the sludge (we don't even get to peek at the goods by the way), there is a fairly enjoyable monster flick packed in. For me, a key to making any monster movie enjoyable and some what scary is...don't show the monster. If you catch the full frontal on your beastie du jour in the first ten minutes of the movie, there is no suspense to carry you through to the end. You know what's stalking through the woods, so why bother watching?
In "It Waits" they do a great job of teasing us with monster from the deep. Glimpses caught out the corner of an eye, views from the critter's perspective, and hints to it's size are all weaved together to show us one thing; this thing is a strong bastard, and it's pretty damn big. But that's all we really get until the final fifteen minutes. The tension provided by this omission helps to ramp up the scares make the movie somewhat enjoyable.
Wrapped loosely around Indian legend and mythology, "It Waits" manages to tell us a tale of a beast from hell trapped by local natives hundreds of years ago. The nature of this beast being one that likes to toy with it's victims like a cat and mouse, especially for those victims that are troubled or 'un-pure'. Luckily, this is a monster flick that has a firm back story that is delivered at the proper time lead us along, sucking you in a bit further so that now you can finally see what a beast from hell looks like.
The downfall here is smacking us upside the head with the 'troubled or un-pure' portion of our main character's back story. Yes, the back story was needed; it always is. When you present it in Lifetime Channel quality in the first twenty minutes of the movie it becomes hard to swallow. As the audience is taking the story in we can only hope that there's a point to suffering through all of this. It's a solid hour until the point is made clear. With some editing or a rewrite this movie could have risen from 'meh, I didn't hate it' to 'wow, that was pretty sweet'.
"It Waits" is an entertaining monster flick. Sure it has its problems, but if you can make it through them you'll still have a good time. The native back story helps to give the flick some meat and make the story distinct enough to stand out from other low budget bonanzas of the time. Just be prepared to work for it.
For crying out loud, if you're going to make us sit through a pointless five minute sex scene to kick things off, at least show us some boobs. She had them in spades and was already nekkid, how hard is it? If this was made in the 80's, it would have been expected.