Movie Review: Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959)

Synopsis: While investigating a series of deaths in the Florida Everglades, game warden Steve Benton discovers a pair of human-sized leeches living in an underwater cave. With the creatures thirsting for blood, Benton, with help from his girlfriend and her father, must find a way to stop them.

Who's in it? The movie stars Ken Clark, Yvette Vickers, Jan Shepard, Tyler McVey and Bruno VeSota.

Review: I've had this movie in my library for several weeks now but have been hesitant to watch it because it seemed like one of those films that could either be surprisingly good or really bad. I finally got around to watching it earlier this morning and, after seeing it, feel it belongs more in the latter category than the former.

Wow, where to begin? I think the first thing I noticed about this movie is just how long it takes for anything to happen. Other than a corpse being found early on, nothing of importance happens in the film until about halfway through and then the movie makes you wait nearly 10 more minutes before the leeches attack again then follows up with a whole lot more talking. Basically, it's a movie that is a little over an hour in length but could have covered the entire main storyline, including a painfully long hunting scene, in about 20 minutes.

I probably wouldn't have minded as much had the leeches been worth the wait but, even with limited screen time, it was hard to look past just how fake looking they were. When shown in the water, they looked like people in scuba suits. When shown in the cave, they looked plastic and fake, though the part about the victims being slowly drained of their blood did admittedly play off slightly better than expected (probably because of the believable screams).

Even the final battle with the leeches, which takes place underwater, did very little to redeem this movie. Like the rest of the film, it seemed to drag on forever with very little actual action, most of it was Steve (Clark) swimming around with a spear and, when he did fight the leeches, it was short and a little too easy. In fact, beating the monsters was kind of anti-climatic in general, making me think this movie might have had a chance to be better (probably not) if more of an effort was made to make them less vulnerable.

Final Opinion: I've seen plenty of monster movies that sounded cheesy but turned out to be a pleasant surprise. This is not one of those movies. Don't waste an hour of your life watching it.

My Grade: F


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