Gregory Blair, J. Horton
I really liked a whole lot about this movie right here. However, don't get me wrong – that doesn't mean I enjoyed everything about it - but to be completely truthful with you, I felt like "Craving" did a remarkable amount of things right, and there's precious little I'd seek to change given a chance. For starters, on the positive side of things, "Craving" is superbly filled with tension and mystery, and it completely exceeded my expectations in that regard.
All I knew about this movie going in was that it was an independent horror flick and somewhat creature-based – but other than those few details, I went into watching this with my usual blank slate and an open mind. While I was expecting something creepy to come into play eventually, what I found was a lot more surprising than your typical indie horror and that "Craving" used its elements of mystery perfectly to its advantage. As in, it's not just a bunch of blood and guts with scenes designed specifically to shock your senses – it's a film that will munch on your mind in many other ways as well.
I like being able to put myself in the shoes of different characters in the movies I watch - and even though anything you'd ever see in a horror film usually pushes things outside of the realm of our reality, it still felt like the choices made by the characters in "Craving" were very realistic. So credit where credit is due – the writing from Gregory Blair and J. Horton (who also serves as director) really hit the mark. The cinematography was also pretty great; I didn't find any issues there, which I see quite often with indie films. So I found plenty to appreciate about "Craving" when it came right down to it.
A great horror movie can so often be much more about what we don't see than what we do, and that can be especially true in the independent field where budgets are a much more significant concern. If you know how to have the camera move effectively and edit scenes with clever precision, the audience is never going to know that there might be some slight deficiency in the elements you do have. Our minds will happily fill in the blanks if given the opportunity, which is what J. Horton allows for in many of the scenes throughout "Craving." Beyond all that kind of visual stuff, the story at the heart of it all was what worked – and you can always build successfully around excellent writing, in my opinion. Long before you'll ever see a creature in this film, you'll experience that wildly intense degree of tension I was tellin' you about. Ultimately, that's all a true reflection of great storytelling - scenes that allow "Craving" to unfold right there. I also enjoyed the use of flashbacks to tell this tale. They were used to great effect in this film, but what worked even better for me was being shut inside the bar and stuck with the main characters of "Craving" in the present day. You get that mix of claustrophobia and subtle panic to go along with the feeling that something just isn't right here - and you can sense that the danger is growing by the minute.
Acting-wise, across the board, the cast of "Craving" get the job done. I don't think anyone truly stood out as overwhelmingly good, but I never felt the opposite either, which is great. "Craving" may have an awkward delivery or two, but it is definitely far, far removed from your typically over-the-top soap opera acting. I actually liked the evenness you'll find in "Craving" because it makes the film feel like any single one of its characters could be in significant jeopardy at any time.
Conversely, where I felt "Craving" had the most opportunity to step up its game was honestly more in the foley art than anywhere else, which, all-in-all, really ain't a terrible thing to criticize when you consider how much is involved when making a movie. I felt like they opted for a less robust take on things like punches and hits - and went for a more natural sound, which in a way, I can appreciate - as I believe it's actually intended to make things more realistic. Ultimately, I think we're all accustomed to those big-big noises when someone gets punched out or more drama to the sound of a skull getting smashed in – and anything less than that makes things seem a bit pale and tame by comparison, no matter how brutal the action itself might seem onscreen, make sense? It's a small observation, but that's, again, credit to J. Horton's attention to detail overall, which left me very little to complain about.
Regarding the creature-based content, I felt that "Craving" scored a huge win! The look of this thing is incredibly unique and sits right on the fringe of something you'd see in a Sci-Fi film as opposed to the typical beasts and freakish creatures in Horror movies. Even though I'm far removed from what I'd call a fan of anything Sci-Fi for the most part, I honestly thought that the creature of "Craving" was wild to look at - and fit right into the way you can "feel" this film heading from the moment it first began. Back to the point I made earlier - J. Horton does not let the lens linger too long on the creature for the majority of the scenes we see it in, which allows that suspension of disbelief to remain highly intact and lets our minds wander to fill in the blanks. We are wrapped up in the fun of the chaos, mischief, and mayhem of the story, where this creature is thriving.
Overall, I'm more than comfortable giving this movie a solid, well-earned three and a half stars out of five for the sheer amount of tension you'll find in the concept and at the root of its story. Maybe even a little more if you're a fan of the genre. I loved the isolated feeling projected onto us, the helplessness, and the whole tone as "Craving" spirals toward its conclusion. It's a bloody good time if you ask me – I'd have no problem at all watching this movie again. Well done, and bravo to everyone who willed this film into existence.