A shipwreck survivor’s keep on a tropical island is lower than idyllic on this well-crafted if unmemorable old-school creature function.
Stripped-down creature function “Sweetheart” stars Kiersey Clemons (“Dope,” “Clear”) as a shipwreck survivor on an uninhabited island that sadly seems to have one frequent, unfriendly, nonhuman customer. The sparing glimpses of the scaly whatsis and near-complete lack of dialogue (to some extent) make this a fairly offbeat wade into a well-recognized Black Lagoon. However regardless of first rate suspense, “Sleight” director J.D. Dillard’s handsome second function is a chiller that’s not fairly unique or trendy sufficient to be memorable.
Clemons’ Jenn washes onto her isle barely acutely aware, although in higher form than a fellow passenger (Benedict Samuel) on her storm-downed pleasure cruise, who shortly expires. The state of affairs is dire, however the heroine proves resourceful, shortly determining easy methods to spear-fish and make a hearth. She additionally finds indicators of prior habitation: A campsite whose vacationers oddly left their gear behind — and extra disturbingly, an obvious group gravesite.
The primary signal that she’s not totally alone comes one morning when the corpse she’s simply buried seems to have been violently dug up and dragged away. Then whereas unsuccessfully making an attempt to seize the eye of a passing airplane one night time, her flare occurs to backlight one thing standing within the distant surf — one thing two-legged, however alarmingly tall and fierce-looking. Fierce it’s certainly, making nocturnal visits that at the beginning are happy along with her choices of fish and different meals. However quickly sufficient it come trying to find Jenn.
Ultimately extra members of her journey wash up. The survivors interpret Jenn’s tales of a monster as stress-induced paranoia. Naturally, it doesn’t take lengthy earlier than they notice they’re mistaken.
An extended roster of ultimate credit is dedicated to the amphibious critter itself, from designer Neville Web page and actor Andrew Crawford to a raft of VFX, prosthetics and different contributors. But as is so usually the case with such films, the most effective of “Sweetheart” (named after one late-arriving character’s considerably condescending means of addressing the heroine) is the creepy, teasing early going after we see the murderous thingie in flashes or in no way. Spectacular sound design makes the creature’s gurgling growl, as Jenn cowers in hiding, maybe extra scary than the lizard-man seen full-on.
Character backstory arrives too little, too late. Nonetheless, Clemons does simply effective etching a girl whose survival instincts received’t let her go down with no critical combat. She carries the movie — but one needs there have been a bit of extra to it. In the long run, that is only a simple, easy monster film that would have used some added conceptual ingenuity or plot-twists within the script that Dillard co-wrote with Alex Theurer (additionally his collaborator on ‘Sleight”) and Alex Hyner. It’s good of its kind — simply not fairly ok to linger as soon as the lights have come up.
Shot in Fiji, the movie advantages from stable tech/design contributions throughout, notably from Stefan Duscio’s good-looking widescreen lensing, Gina Hirsch’s tense enhancing and Charles Scott IV’s ominous synth-dominated rating.