From the minute the campy font for LEECHES! starts, with its bubbling water and swaying letters, you might think that David DeCoteau and crew all knew what they were doing. But as anyone who has watched DeCoteau's work know, it never really lands right. Having made over 75 feature films, DeCoteau has managed make a name for himself in the direct to video genre, taking on monsters, serial killers and aliens. And it seems there are two things that David DeCoteau really likes. He loves gross out moments and cock.
The plot is simple. Like really simple. LakeCrest College (with a student body of about 30 kids) has a problem. The swim team is taking performance enhancers and they all hang out by the river. A couple of the guys who have abused the "pumpers" the most go for a swim and come out covered in Leeches. They pick them off each other in the gym shower and the leeches escape into the sewers. Now, bigger and badder than ever, the leeches want more blood and boys in speedos seem to be their favorite target.
A film like this can go both ways. It can be straight up camp or if the director had a flare from the less obvious, you could pull off a really fun horror film while keeping it all in check that it doesn't go over the campy cliff. Hard to do with the subject matter, but not impossible. But the balance is off from the get go. DeCoteau seems to know what he is doing and going for a campy feel, but the actors are totally serious. Like SILKWOOD serious. And they can't act! Which you think would make it even more campy, but it doesn't. It falls into this world that only David DeCoteau has been able to create. All of his films are like this. Another thing that all of his film's have in common are that they are knee deep in the gayness. The opening shot of the swimmer bending and stretching as the camera follows his every move and muscle, scream GAY! but the next scene is his GIRLFRIEND looking for him! Honey, He is at THE CUFF. The entire cast has had their eyebrows( and I am not talking all three of the girls in the movie) and the entire wardrobe has been sponsored by International Male. I always wondered who bought International Male clothes, now I know.....
Like DeCoteau's dual citizenship with The US and Canada, he seems to have one foot in gay cinema and another in trying to make it un-gay. He tries so hard, that it makes the movie even gayer. Does he know what he is doing? It can't be possible.
Some of my favorite Super Gay Moments in LEECHES!
1. The hunky Italian who climbs out of the river in the hottest swimsuit in the movie,while all the girls go nuts over him.
2.The two guys in their speedos taking showers and picking leeches off each other while almost kissing.
3.One of the PUMPED up leeches attacks a sleeping college student and aims right for his ass, then caresses its way (it's a hand puppet) to the guys mouth and the guy basically performs oral on said leech.
The movie just continues from bad to worst as the cast takes showers in their speedos, the girls talk about their "boyfriends" and a hot nerd discovers the truth and must battle not only the leeches but a lecherous coach and the other members of the swim team.
LEECHES! really wants to have it both ways. It wants to be a horror film for gays (very hard to do cuz we horror movie gays are some picky bitches) and a horror film that the normal demographic (13 year old boys) for horror films would rent. Maybe that explains the girl on the cover. It is a revolutionary idea, but one that must be done with the utmost care and really good insight. LEECHES! has neither and none of DeCoteau's work does either. I really like that he is out there, busting it, but come on, dude. Just let the guys make-out.