2 1/2 StarsHave we not hit the wall in terms of titles when having to resort to Heebie Jeebies? Whats next, an arctic adventure titled Chilly Willy? A hundred years ago, a group of gold miners were trapped and killed on the job in a gruesome tragedy. Today the ghastly remains have accumulated into a revenge-fueled monster able to literally scare its victims to near death before, tearing them to shreds. When the century old creature comes into contact with its prey, it incites the heebie jeebies of the title. In full disclosure, this is a TV Movie dressed with a fancy DVD box and sneaked into RedBoxes around the country in an effort to fool consumers into thinking Heebie Jeebies was a theatrical release. Other than the silly title and some awful acting by a handful of cast members, this Syfy channel original movie is a lot of fun, brimming with sly humor and a knowing wink to genre conventions. It has an interesting blend of Eastern mysticism and a creature that bleeds gold, and in the immortal lines of Schwarzenegger,”If it bleeds, we can kill it”
Todd Crane (Robert Belushi) is a police officer who suffers debilitating panic attacks, displayed in an amusing scene in which the officer is forced to confront a drunk older woman who happens to be his former elementary school teacher. In the midst of being berated by the obviously intoxicated motorist, Todd falls to his knees and can barely keep from losing consciousness. This embarrassing episode is witnessed by his boss, who can’t conceal his lack of respect for the soft rookie.
Things start to pick up with the introduction of a lively gold mining businessman named Billy Butler (Michael Badalucco). He’s the kind of character you sometimes see on local cable channels hocking used cars that look used, except this guy is into cash for gold. Early on, Billy bribes a federal safety inspector with a satchel of gold and an attempted romp, to make the female investigator turn a cheek. Badalucco resembles Patton Oswald, and his drawl here mixed with a cock-sure douche-bag attitude are spot-on and right in line with the tone of the picture.
Meanwhile Officer Crane becomes romantically involved with the local nurse Teresa, who happens to be a therapist and apparently a coroner, as well. The plot is further (semi) complicated with a love story between Crane’s younger sister and his boss’ son. The young lovers eventually become targets of the monster, when a car make-out session in the woods goes awry. From this point the movie becomes a straight forward march through the horror paces to its conclusion. That’s not a knock on the movie, Heebie Jeebies has been made with enough skill and verve to warrant another feature from director Thomas L. Callaway. It has a nice sense of mischief and it’s good of its type. Now, if there was only something we could do about that title.
Director: Thomas L. Callaway
Stars: Robert Belushi, Cathy Shim, Michael Badalucco