A police captain teams up with a soup-kitchen owner to investigate disappearances. A fashion photographer explores abandoned New York City subway tunnels to photograph the homeless denizens. A corrupt official stops at nothing to cover up a secret project. A mysterious man eats a quarter as an act of intimidation. For a creature feature, C.H.U.D. packs a lot of plot.
Too much. Top billed John Heard proves ancillary as the aforementioned photographer. His character will be familiar. An artist who resents his commercial success and longs to do “something real”. His character’s contribution to the story amounts to having a model girlfriend who’s later terrorized by the titular C.H.U.Ds.
But the path to that scene proves arduous. Though the film proffers great New York City photography and atmosphere, it drags. Affording Heard time to play discontented artist while still advancing the main plot leaves little time for the creatures. In what feels like a budget ploy, they’re often kept offscreen. We get POV shots and reaction shots from the victims, but no creatures.
Granted, when they arrive, they deliver, but more creature and less feature would have gone a long way.