Sweetheart is one of those things that pop up on Netflix in their suggestions. I hadn’t heard of it. The title is bland, so I almost skipped it. The description had just enough salt to peak my interest, so I decided to give it a go. I’m not disappointed, even if it isn’t exactly treading any new ground.   It's a horror movie take on Castaway.

The film begins with Jennifer (Kiersey Clemons) washing ashore on an island.  Her friend Brad also washes up. He is injured and dies while she is trying to find him some water. Jennifer buries her friend and starts looking for things to help her.  This quickly becomes a Castaway type yarn, and we watch a solitary person learn to survive alone on a tropical island.  She finds some items left behind by a family that had been on the island years earlier. Later she will stumble upon the graves of some of the members of that family.

It isn’t long before Jennifer discovers that she isn’t alone. Some sort of creature wades out of the ocean every night. It eats the corpse of her friend. The monster seems to be hunting her. Jennifer has to develop new survival skills to elude the creature.

While trying to retrieve some luggage that is floating offshore she discovers some sort of hole in the seabed, and intuits that the creature lives there (or maybe it’s a portal to some other place where creatures like this are normal?).

Two friends from the boat she had been on before the movie began show up in a raft and disbelieve her tale about the monster. Things go downhill quickly. 

Jennifer has to face off against the monster one last time.

Nothing about this movie is exactly unique. It’s interesting enough, and the story is helped by the solid performance from Clemons. She has the screen to herself for most of the movie’s run time, and carries that burden quite well. The film relies on visual cues, as there Is little dialogue until the other survivors arrive.

The creature effects are mostly solid. Some weakness shows late in the action. The movie does the Jaws standard, showing the creature in shadow, or barely glimpsed in the edge of frame, or in quick cuts that don’t linger. That works well, and the monster seems threatening and realistic. But, near the end we get protracted shots of the creature seen clearly and it’s not really very impressive.  Monster movies always have a problem with this. You build tension and create fear by implying the monster. The viewer’s imagination does the heavy lifting. Then, when you actually show it, it’s almost always a letdown. I can’t ding this movie too much for it.

If you have an hour twenty to kill, jump over to Netflix and check out Sweetheart.