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'It Waits'

Right now, I wager you're wondering: What is "It" and what is "It" waiting for? You'd hope that by renting (or, heaven forbid, purchasing) Anchor Bay's new DVD release "It Waits," some answers might be forthcoming. Alas, you'd be wrong. Instead, you'd get a 40-minute Lifetime special about a curvy young woman trying to take control of her own life, with a vaguely gruesome 50-minute creature feature wedged awkwardly in the middle.

Cerina Vincent is Danny St. Claire, rural British Columbia's sexiest park ranger. Tortured by the death of her best friend, she sits in a remote watch tower monitoring pressure levels at a local dam and drinking vodka from the bottle in tight tank-tops and short-shorts. After a falling out with her boyfriend Justin (Dominic Zamprogna), rural British Columbia's most Jordan Catalano-esque park ranger, her only friend is a talkative parrot named Hoppy. However, when pesky grad students accidentally open a long-sealed cave, they unleash the titular "It," a scaly, toothy critter that likes to kill, but that gets even more pleasure out of desecrating the corpses of Its victims in cheeky ways. Danny, you see, is battling her own metaphorical demons, so this is exactly the right time for her to tackle at least one of the more literal kind.

Since the movie is mostly about Danny finding her inner strength, it's mostly a one-woman show for Vincent, an attractive actress capable of at least somewhat better than this. Vincent looks great in a tight top (though it never comes off, even in the sex scene, which is accompanied by a creepy song by director Steven R. Monroe's wife), cries easily and isn't the least bit convincing firing a gun, but she isn't the film's problem.

A bigger problem is that for the first half-hour, "It Waits" is sure that viewers are eager to wait on the carnage while Monroe plays around with flashbacks to show Danny's distress. By the time the director realizes that he's supposed to be doing a horror movie, it's too late for there to be any developed characters to be killed, so he has to introduce a couple hikers whose names might as well be Mr. Dead and Mrs. Meat. Another ready-to-die cameo comes from Eric Schweig ("The Missing"), who plays a Native American professor who arrives for the lone purpose of kinda explaining the creature. How does he do? He declares, "It's the frustrated spirit of a mythological beast, mated with the basest of human qualities." Um... OK.

A better explanation for the creature's genesis is provided by co-writer and producer Stephen J. Cannell, the TV legend behind "The A-Team" and "Wiseguy," who tells a nice little Native American legend that actually might have added something to the movie. Instead, it's just another tidbit on the 20-minute "Blood on the Pines" behind the scenes featurette, in which the filmmakers wax poetic on Alex the Parrott and the brutal rain, which also shaped the narrative of the film. Apparently It was supposed to fear water, but because of the drizzle, the plot was shaped so that the creature was only a bit annoyed by water.

Many more anecdotes about rain and the parrot pop up in the commentary track with Monroe and Vincent. After chatting for 30 minutes -- long enough to discuss the complications of shooting a sex scene with the flu -- Vincent leaves on a callback for an episode of "Monk." She seems not to have gotten that part, but at least she got to skip out on the end of the movie.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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