According to their own site, Tubi’s most popular movie this week is a creature feature called Cryptid. After that on the list is the reality show The Bad Girls Club, so you know their algorithm is accurate (who doesn’t love to watch women brawl?).
Taken from the cinematic schema of Jaws, Cryptid uses a similar approach to Spielberg’s early mantra: “The terror is in what you don’t see.” For this movie, that’s a good thing because a lot of what makes it good is the build-up thanks to some suitable acting and above-par cinematography.
The film follows a freelance journalist named Max Frome (Nicholas Baroudi) who while working his beat in small-town Maine, stumbles upon a string of gruesome deaths that might be connected. It looks like a bear attack, but we know it isn’t. He’s not getting any help from the local authorities either and guess what? “Now the mayor’s involved.” Derivative much?
He low-key cons his journalist friend Harriet (Ellen Adair) to help him investigate the story, one because he got an advance on it and two, it sets up the “will they or won’t they kiss” subplot.
The rural location allows the cryptid of the title just enough food to sustain itself while not alarming the locals. Instead, they ask Max in passing, “Have you seen my dog?” or “It’s awful what happened to Helen” at the local general store.
A plot development over halfway through the film is a surprise, but still derivative. And when the creature does appear it’s impressive but, practical FX-wise, sedentary.
Cryptid is best when it’s building its plot. Thanks to some alright acting and the anticipation of a creature reveal it is enough to get you through the halfway point. But once there and the monster has screen time, all suspension of disbelief is lost. The creature effects team did a terrific job. The monster looks great, but the director and editors didn’t do it justice by not hiding its technical limitations.
Overall Cryptid is an enjoyable TV-MA movie, but instead of bite, it just nibbles. If you want action, drama, and real bloodshed go to the next most popular thing on Tubi: The Bad Girls Club.