4 days ago
A friend of mine by the name of Christian (who shall remain nameless) turned me onto The Burrowers. He knows that I'm a sucker for monster movies, and since I generally trust his taste, I acted on his recommendation. Christian was right. This is a cultured, competent horror film that draws inspiration from Tremors, Ravenous and a host of sooty westerns. These two genres don't cross paths very often, but when they do, the results range from forgettable to astonishing. On a sidenote, 2002's Legend of the Phantom Rider is the best horror/western hybrid on the market. As for The Burrowers, it has admirable intentions. Just one problem...
It's boring. The storyline is a frail excuse to get our lead players to sit around bonfires and wander off into the clutches of a quadrupedal creature that burrows its way into the ground. A burrower, if you will. You see, a group of men rush off to rescue their women after their encampment is ravaged by...Indians maybe? I bet the burrowers did it. Anyway, the second act is acutely tedious. We sit through countless shots of the protagonists riding their horses and sleeping under spectral moonlight. Even the climax is somewhat lethargic. But as I mentioned earlier, this flick isn't a total misstep.
The Burrowers does a lot of things right. The photography is gorgeous. In fact, it's gorgeous enough to remind you that this isn't a z-grade production or an Asylum "film" helmed by the hellspawn of Fred Olen Ray. The acting is credible, the characters are complex and the scenery is breathtaking (seriously, they scouted the hell out of these locations). For all intents and purposes, The Burrowers works. It's an above average confection that would have rocked the horror community if writer/director J.T. Petty had paid more attention to pacing and story structure.
Ironically, Petty's claim to fame is a 70-minute (mostly) silent film. I'm referring to 2001's Soft For Digging, which actually did rock the horror community. The man is clearly talented, but in my opinion, he has yet to hit one out of the park. His scripts need to be fine-tuned. Wait a minute. I'm a monster freak, and I haven't dished on the monsters! The burrowers themselves are unique varmints, although I don't understand why they are hypersensitive to sunlight. Did they really need to drag vampire cliches into this mess? Vampires are annoying.
Um, The Burrowers is okay. That's my review.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 10:51 PM