An unusual genre bending movie taking many of the familiar themes and tropes of Horror movies and setting them against the backdrop of a Western, this 2008 film was directed and written by J.T. Petty (no idea if he’s related to Tom Petty but I like to think so). It’s got an interesting plot, set in the year 1879, where a group of frontiersmen and their families are exploring new territories and carving out a place for themselves. All standard Western stuff until a group of people are abducted in the middle of the night. The immediate suspects are the native American Indians but there is something far more sinister at work here, creatures called the Burrowers, who used to feast on wild Buffalo but have now developed a taste for human flesh.
The U.S. Cavalry don’t come out of this movie looking very good as they brutally massacre the few survivors of the native American settlements, already heavily depleted by the Burrowers, who’s only weakness appears to be sunlight. In fact the movie has a lot of points to make about the treatment of Blacks and other ethnic minorities by the predominantly white explorers of the time, which raises it above being a standard horror flick. The cast rise to the challenges of the material with stars Clancey Brown and David Busse excelling. It’s unusual for a horror movie in that the amount of female sex appeal on screen is severely limited but that doesn’t count against it as the movie is concerned with higher issues.
It has the feeling of “Tremors” but is something completely original in it’s own right , a definite must see with a strong script, great cast and some nice direction. It flounders a little in the middle and could have benefited from minor editing but the ending is powerful and surprising, very dark and depressing. The social commentary is well integrated into an absorbing storyline and it’s worth mentioning that for once, the creatures are all realised with prosthetic effects rather than the much overused CGI that we have come to expect. Don’t miss this film!
Director: J.T. Petty
Casts: David Busse, Laura Leighton, Clancy Brown, Stan Burd, Steph Delgado, Doug Hutchison, William Mapother, Karl Geary, Sean Patrick Thomas, Trip Davis, Jocelin Donahue
Language: English | French