Movie Name: The Burrowers
Release Date(s): September 9, 2008 (Toronto International Film Festival)/April 21, 2009 (US)
MPAA Rating: R
In 1879, a family in the Dakota Territory disappears and the Native Americans are suspected. John Clay (Clancy Brown) and William Parcher (William Mapother) find themselves working with a soldier bent on eliminating the Indians. As the group searches the plains, they hear stories of another tribe that even the Native Americans fear. The burrowers are hunters and they are now hunting men.
Directed by J.T. Petty, The Burrowers was a Western-horror hybrid film. The film played film festivals and was released directly to DVD in 2009. The movie was relatively well received by critics.
I’m always looking for different horror movies and there aren’t very many horror westerns. When I learned about The Burrowers, I wanted to check it out. The first time I watched The Burrowers, I thought it was decent but a bit of a letdown. The second time I watched the film, I softened a little and didn’t have any expectations…and it was better.
The Burrowers is like many Westerns in that it is very slow paced. The story just doesn’t move very fast and the film branches a lot of directions from the start. The film takes a bit its story and tone from The Searchers which had a similar set-up and feel…but here, the enemies are monsters.
The cast is good and the story makes weird choices with them. The two most notable actors in the film are Clancy Brown and William Mapother but that doesn’t give them a pass. Despite being “stars” both characters leave a lot sooner then I’d expect them to. I like that in a story and it leaves you guessing as to where it will go.
The biggest regret I do have about The Burrowers is that you never get a real payoff involving the creature. I kept expecting more and to see more of the creatures design and what they looked like. The tight budget of the film probably didn’t permit this, but with a creature film, you expect a bit more especially in the showdown at the end.
The Burrowers definitely will not please everyone, but I could see it eventually becoming a cult film. The uniqueness of the genre blend distinguishes it from other horror movies and some of the storytelling and looks at race relations in the Old West give it some credit besides being a monster movie. The Burrowers should be given a shot, and if you don’t go in expecting much, you might enjoy it more.
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