Thursday, September 10, 2009
I should say right off the bat that The Burrowers is really good. So few Weird Westerns, have high production values, a good story, or anything worth caring about past bad ass cowboys kicking Zombie, slime Monster, Vengeful Ghost, or Vampire ass. And while The Burrowers is about kicking monster ass, there is also feeling behind the story. The sort-of main character is Fergus Coffey, an Irish man who has set out, with a group of men, to find his lost love who has disappeared into the night under mysterious circumstances.
Here is how one Youtube video described the film:
The Dakota Territories. 1879. A handful of brave pioneers maintain isolated settlements in the badlands beyond civilization. When a family is brutally abducted in a nighttime attack, a posse forms to rescue the missing from the Native Americans suspected of the crime. An Irish immigrant searching for his lost beloved, a naive teenager hoping to prove himself, an ex-slave looking for his place, and a pair of aging Indian-fighters set themselves against all the perils of the Old West, battling nature and hostile tribes. But as men vanish in the night, and horrific evidence accumulates with the dead and dying, the group discovers that their prey is far more terrifying than anything human, and their prospects are far more terrible than death.
And Fear dot Net describes it as this:
From its opening images of the Dakota territories in 1879, The Burrowers appears to be every inch a Western. But in the hands of writer/director J.T. Petty, The Burrowers probes horrors that no Western could ever fathom. What begins as a tale worthy of John Ford, a band of hardened ranchers set off into the wilderness to rescue a family kidnapped by a Native American tribe, turns into a terrifying encounter with a gruesome species that's far from human.
Very true, not only is this great WEIRD Western, its just a darn good Western...period.
The creatures are scary, but not in a malicious evil creature sort of way. Imagine if you got caught in a spider's web, and were systematically paralyzed, wrapped in webbing, and hung for a later meal....you can't really say that the spider is EVIL, more that it is just doing what it was programmed to do...that's what the Burrowers are. There is no evil intent to eat Humans, they are just doing what they do...storing food for the long 75 year slumber they take between appearances. The REAL evil in this story are the humans, and especially the captain of a Calvary troop...who shows his true colors by story's end....though he does show some of his cards quite a bit before that.
The Burrowers is bleak, it is fun as a horror movie, but not a happy feel good kind of film...things don't end well for anyone...including the Burrowers, and I have to say that as grotesque as the creatures are, you do start to feel a little bit sorry for them when they are inevitably slaughtered in the final act.
I have only a few Weird Westerns in my collection so far, WAY less than straight Westerns, but this film will be joining them....I really enjoyed it. However, before you purchase it for yourself (should you be building your own collection) renting is always a good start...you never know where you tastes will run, and solely taking my word on some films might get you some unwanted films in your collection......but this is a definite rent......and it stars Clancy Brown as the tough leader of the posse John Clay, how can you beat that?
I am sad that the short prequel film Blood Red Earth isn't on this DVD...however you can see it at Fear.net or at one of my older postings. It doesn't really further the film, it just tells a small story about the Burrowers appearance 75 years prior.
Until you get a chance to see it, though, here is a gruesome little taste of what you can expect:
While not perfect, Ill give this film 5 out of 5 Bloody Spurs