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Mean Creek
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Reviews & Ratings for
Mean Creek More at IMDbPro »

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No movie will give you the creepy, eerie feeling we all crave except one movie 10/10

10/10
Author: joshmcbridelives from United States
18 August 2014

"His daddy splattered his brains - All over the wall!!" Despite the lack of a meaningful message, or well wrapped conclusion, this is one of the most stomach-dropping, well written screenplays on the planet. Where is this quiet, lonely, creepy town? Who lives there? Who's childhood is this? No other movie has accomplished this feeling inside of me. I have got this feeling from books that have an eerie small town where only sad things happen. This movie is truly a piece of great literature. This writing is superb. The acting is realistic. The set-up, the music, the scenes, the creepy, dark, quiet town, and troubled kids, are sure to leave you with chills in your spine. The story here is only something that would happen in a long lost book from the 90's that has no message but pure feeling. How does this movie make you feel? Prepare to feel ICKY. But don't die before you watch it, it will be one of a kind for eternity.

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Teen revenge plan goes haywire

7/10
Author: msroz from United States
23 March 2014

"Mean Creek" stars a group of teen-agers or maybe one or two almost teens, and they do a great job acting. The director did a wonderful job.

The story is highly engaging. There's a fat bully who has beat up on one boy. He and his brother concoct a scheme to pull a prank on the bully and embarrass him. Nothing really criminal but still striking back. They concoct a boating outing on a pretty creek as part of a birthday celebration and invite a few others to participate.

We then see an array of different teens, each with his or her own problems and perspectives, each with a different character.

Although the story focuses on teens and how they behave as they see the nicer side and then again the bully side of their intended victim, it equally well is about human beings in general. The teen behavior is very much how grownups behave. They just cover up their confusions and emotions better, dressing them up in rationalizations.

This generality of the story is what makes it an above-average morality tale. It raises all sorts of questions. At the same time it shows how a group can be led and how conscience and realities intrude on unrealistic plans and actions.

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It's One to Watch

7/10
Author: gemini_dremz from United States
27 January 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I finally got the opportunity to see this film and I was really taken in. The actors are all perfect for their roles and the storyline, though a fiction, could very well be real. The story of kids who start out with a gag that turns deadly. It shows the innocence of middle and high schoolers who want to be tough and fit in, yet in the end show their true humanity. I like the way the director lets the viewer inside the mind of a bully and his desire to be liked, even by his victims. Then we see how mean he really is and your empathy for him disappears, almost applauding his demise. Of course no one wants to see a kid die, but everyone wants justice. Even though his death was a accident, the rest of the group grapple with doing the right thing and finally come to the decision, after being convinced by their leader, that burying him and hiding the secret is what's best for all. However, the others decide that it's best to tell and they do while the leader of the group runs and inevitably turns to crime as we see when he robs a convenient store. It's not fast paced, high energy or violent. Instead it has a steady pace throughout and though there is some graphic language a scene of nudity and sexual suggestions, it's pretty clean. The only problem I saw with the film is when the youngest boy takes the police to where the body is buried and they bring the mother along. I've never known any family member being taken to the scene of the crime/burial site. Other than that, I enjoyed the film and recommend it.

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A breath of fresh sadness

9/10
Author: Steve Pulaski from United States
15 January 2014

Children and adolescents can sometimes be hopelessly cruel. That much we know. It seems that with the creation of the internet and social media the actions of children and adolescents seem to have gotten worse. That much we also know. But even the most devious children are not robbed of a tight, moral core which recognizes when something is wrong because of their actions. It's true, however, that some children possess nihilistic tendencies, but many children do indeed have a core that allows them to sympathize and recognize when they are in danger or at fault.

Jacob Aaron Estes' Mean Creek is a beautiful little tone-poem of a film, exploring the aforementioned concept with piercing reality and humanism. Through a band of tremendous character actors, ranging from ages ten and elven to seventeen and eighteen, Estes creates an intimate portrayal of coping with a tragedy when the blame is partially on you. This would be a difficult thing for an adult to stomach. For young adolescents, it's absolutely merciful on the mind and wellbeing.

The film opens with a young Sam (Rory Culkin) being beaten, harassed, and viciously assaulted by George (Josh Peck), a chubby dyslexic kid with no real friends. Despite his easy-going and often forgiving nature, Sam holds onto this beating and goes along with the plans of his older brother Rocky (Trevor Morgan) and his friends Clyde (Ryan Kelley) and Marty (Scott Mechlowicz) of getting George back by taking him out to the middle of a lake on a boat, initiating a game of truth or dare to get him to strip, and having him jump into the water and leaving him stranded.

Sam takes his young girl friend Millie (Carly Schroeder) along. A cute little blonde, she immediately doesn't approve of what him and his gang of buddies are doing. Even when Sam attempts to call off the plan, as George seems like a well-meaning, if troubled and uneven soul, the plan remains on as directed by the ringleader Marty, who eggs George on to the point where he exhibits the reflexes typical of a powerless and scared individual. He resorts to obscenities and vulgarity as a means of combating the brutal words being thrown his way and, as expected, it all ends tragically.

George winds up being accidentally pushed off the boat and drowning in the water. CPR and attempts to get the young kid to breath doesn't help either; George is now dead and the figurative blood is on the hands of the five kids involved. This is where Estes could've copped out and made a film that lead to basic moralizing and cheap, forgettable sentiment.

Instead, Estes persist through deeply disturbing material and shows just how ugly, senseless, and troubling murder is. He shows the impact it has on these adolescents and how they try and cope with the horrific action they've just committed. It's a tough subject and Estes doesn't sugarcoat it. Just like Larry Clark did with his exceptional film Bully, Estes devotes the last half-hour or so to how the characters deal with their actions, and avoids simplistic moralizing and easy ways out. He brought this material to light and doesn't take it back at all.

Moreover, the entire cast of young kids are terrific here, with specific highlights being Rory Culkin, who is given the difficult but rewarding role of playing the youngest kid. Culkin's Sam character needs to be aware of his actions but also has to have great difficulty portraying his feelings. His blank, expressionless face often penetrates the psyche of the viewer. The other particularly strong role is that of Josh Peck, who was working on Drake & Josh at this same time. Peck has another challenging role in the regard his action need to be incorrigible but his underlying personality needs to be easy to see and have the ability to second guess the decision to humiliate them. Peck's performance is surprisingly tender, especially during a vulgar key-scene on the boat.

Through the lens of low-budget filmmaking, Estes makes a completely immersing and exciting picture that works because of its depiction of murder, its meditative atmosphere, its gaggle of great character actors, and its intimate focus on the adolescents involved in this issue (we pleasantly do not have to suffer through scenes with adult characters who "don't understand." Mean Creek is an often terrifying picture but it need be seen by everyone.

Starring: Rory Culkin, Ryan Kelley, Scott Mechlowicz, Trevor Morgan, Josh Peck, Carly Schroeder. Directed by: Jacob Aaron Estes.

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Mind-twisting and debate-creating, but with several unthinkable elements

7/10
Author: Bene Cumb from Estonia/Tallinn
29 October 2013

It is very difficult to write about this oppressive movie without creating spoilers. Turns in the script are important in understanding steps following and knowing the end would probably ruin preceding thrill... Well, the events and different reactions to a certain incident are logical (particularly, when bearing in mind the age of involved persons), but I personally found the composition of boat-trip members a bit odd as youth groups aiming for something "nasty" do not consist of members of so different ages... And one very minor girl among the bunch of sexually capable male teens tripping far? Hmm... Performances by youngsters are, of course, high-level (above all, Rory Culkin and Trevor Morgan), and the one involved in "group-mocking" is no saint himself. The ending is versatile, with loose ends, and viewers can ponder on and over what has really happened and if the consequences did reflect the true nature of events.

In general, Mean Creek is a decent independent drama, but it is also complex to specify its audience - it is not suitable to most families with children, but adults only may find difficult to dedicate their time for a movie where adult characters and very briefly on screen.

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Basically my thoughts on the film

8/10
Author: zozo1997 from Reading, England
14 October 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

First off, I found this film to be brilliant. I watched this today in my A level film studies class and I was nearly in tears.

The colour and camera types/ shots remind me of 'Napolenon Dinamite' because everything is shot on location and there are no special effects used. I feel that this doesn't distract me from the overall film. There aren't any over the top colours, which would also distract from the film.

I thought that with Josh Peck, his character would be quite meek and sweet- which is what we got, but we also got his nasty character which made him lovable and dislikeable at the same time. His character has an obvious mental problem(maybe a case of autism?), and Peck has created this character with the two sides which would be present in someone with a mental disorder.

This film was very heavy. By that I mean that this film made me think a whole lot. Anything like this could happen to anyone- they could accidentally kill a friend- which makes it a relatible and believable film to watch. If I weren't already doing a different film for my film studies analysis essay, I would choose to analyse this film because it's amazing- simple yet complex.

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Awesome Acting...Fine Directing...Weak Ending

7/10
Author: LeonLouisRicci from United States
2 October 2013

Familiar but still Engaging Story of Teen Trouble. The Acting Ensemble is Peerless and the Style of the Movie is Low-Key and Hauntingly Attractive. The Interaction among the Group is Authentic and never Strained. The Dialog is Sharp and Intelligent.

But there are Two Major Flaws that keep this from being Absolutely Compelling. First the Bully Character is not Developed enough Initially to Solidify the Central Theme. Second, the Third Act Demonstrates a Weak Resolution that Raises too many Questions and that Intrudes and Separates the Audience from the Film.

The Group's Behavior up to that point was Well Thought Out and Spot On. However, as Things Unfold, it seems to go Astray in an Ending that is neither Quite Believable or Satisfying. There is much to Praise in the Director's First Film, but adapting the Premise of some Very Fine Movies, that are so Similar that Comparisons are Inevitable, there must be some sort of Hook to set it apart and in that, this Film Fails to Deliver.

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Excellent teen drama

10/10
Author: Uzara from Romania
9 June 2013

The first time I watched this movie was sometime in 2010 because at that time I was into the tomandandy soundtrack and various compositions; they scored this movie too so I wanted to see what it was like. I watched it again three years later. I didn't expect much because before watching movies I always look for reviews and ratings, but as the movie went along I was captivated. What I liked most was the cast, the screenplay and of course the soundtrack. Young actors with not a lot of experience gave a really natural acting. I felt like I was there with them. The emotions each of them feel about everything they do puts you in the position to give your personal thought and wonder which character you suit better. There are funny parts that made me laugh, but overall it has everything: all the emotions a teenage goes through, even the revenge part, which maybe in real life would not turn into a dramatic outcome as it does in this movie.

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Riveting river retreat

8/10
Author: p-stepien from United Kingdom
11 October 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After the young Sam Merrick (Rory Culkin) gets beat up by the school bully George Tooney (a then severely overweight Josh Peck) for touching his prized possession (a camera), his big brother Rocky (Trevor Morgan) and his friend Marty Blank (Scott Mechlowicz) decide to exact some playful revenge on the oppressor. Together with Sam's friend Clyde (Ryan Kelley) and initially non-conspiring love interest Millie (Carly Schroeder) they venture on a boat ride down the local creek, planning to have George swim naked in the water after a game of truth or dare. However after getting to know the boy doubts about their planned actions start creeping in...

A tense and well-delivered story, which by the use of children and their inherent innocence strips vengeance to its bare bone (essentially though a story about adolescents Eates delivers a more universal story directed at adults as well). The older the child the less naive actions are, more fabricated by social upbringing. Despite George being the bully, he shows himself to be an awkwardly unsocial individual with some charm and need for attention, hiding behind his bully image to compensate his inadequacies, possibly also exhibiting symptoms of a Tourette syndrome. Nonetheless despite his social uncouthness, he soon gains sympathy from most members of the group. The odd man out is Marty, orphaned, now growing up with his older brother, is riddled with frustration and boiling anger. When his plaything is taken away as others decide to rescind their plan. he responds with forcing it through anyway and thus uncovering the vengeful purely emotional backlash residing in each of them. Even the fraught Millie, against the whole thing from the start, eventually succumbs to the negativity and inadvertently initiates the chain of events by suggesting Marty 'starts his game'.

The two-edged sword of revenge is shown to its full extent in this movie. The act itself seems less rational, when the victim become more than just a caricature, a hollow word ('bully'), but a human being. The full brutal realisation of revenge's pointlessness comes with the somewhat obvious, but nonetheless revelatory note that even George has a mother, someone who loves him and for whom the child is her whole life. Within this frame guilt is relentless, because there is no possibility of detachment from responsibility or the person that you have harmed. Nameless and faceless aggression is but the touch of a button. Personally it becomes painful in its backlash.

Despite referencing itself to "Deliverance" Jacob Aaron Estes debut is more akin to "Stand By Me", although not being a coming-of-age story. Nonetheless the journey into darkness is reminiscent. Buoyed by some of the best acting seen on screen by a cast of young actors comes a truly memorable movie.

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Not for everyone, but very well-made.

8/10
Author: Movie Guy
9 July 2012

Let me start by saying that this might not be the movie for everyone. It's got a lot of swearing, it's got teen drug and alcohol use, and a teenager dies in the final act of the movie. However, if you can handle it, you're in for a very well-made movie. The performances by the young cast (including Josh Peck and Rory Culkin) are very authentic and believable, the dialogue is well- written, and I found the story to be engaging, too. There's one profanity-laden scene where a character insults everyone else who's appearing in the scene with him. It's sort of hard to watch, but it's very intense and very well-staged. So, if you can handle it, you're in for a very well-made movie that shows revenge is not always as sweet as it might seem.

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