You know a movie fails to hold your attention when you’re spending more time marveling at the setting of the film than the film itself. I really should move to New Hampshire, it looks like a beautiful place to live in. And there is no shortage of scenes depicting suburbs and town halls that look incredible when filmed. In either case, “Don’t Let the Riverbeast Get You!” is a giant missed opportunity of a horror comedy that seems to have tacked on the monster called the Riverbeast in to a dramedy about a tutor, and a woman he’s trying to impress. I was never sure on the specifics of the story, since it’s a pretty tedious movie.
It’s by no means the worst monster movie ever made, but it spends too much time propping up the plot that it fails to remember the key element of the movie. The monster. We see him pop up from the water in the beginning, and he only appears sporadically and only every half hour. Which sucks considering the movie is a little under a hundred minutes in length. The monster itself is decent looking with the obvious rubber visage and monster suit, but it’s painfully misused, and often underused. It doesn’t matter what the monster looks like if you can compose a decent horror comedy, and “Don’t Let the Riverbeast Get You!” fails to deliver big time.
The Riverbeast is a cool monster, and it gets almost no screen time. When it does, it instead is given a goofy back story and almost no mystique. “Don’t Let the Riverbeast Get You!” is obviously operating on a very small budget, so director Charles Roxburgh brings our characters through different locales for conflict, and the monster is pushed so far in to the background he’s practically irrelevant. Truthfully the writers are very much concerned with bringing our character through the small obstacles that feel like an indie comedy and nothing more.
Neil Stuart is the main character who is given a bad press image, and is a celebrated tutor tasked with teaching an unruly female student, with a penchant for blackmailing her superiors. He’s also very anxious to win the girl of his dreams. And there’s a monster peppered throughout the film, somewhere. I’d be hard pressed to really call “Don’t Let the Riverbeast Get You!” a horror comedy at all. It’s barely a horror movie at all. It garners no tension, suspense, or sense of terror, and is really just one big sub-par indie character study with a cool monster shoehorned in for reasons I can’t figure out.