January 27, 2009

Preview of The Burrowers

The BurrowersIt is 1879. Coffey (Karl Geary), a young Irishman settled on the plains of Dakota, is about to ask his sweetheart to marry him. His dream of wedded bliss is shattered, however, when something or someone attacks the young lady's family farm, kidnapping the women and children and slaughtering the men. Coffey joins a group of local ranchers and cavalrymen in search of the victims, who are assumed to be prisoners of a fierce band of natives.

Put off by the sadistic and single-minded tactics of self-appointed group leader Henry Victor (Doug Hutchison), Coffey sets out with a couple of ranchers (William Mapother and Highlander's Clancy Brown), as well as a teenaged boy and a freed slave (Sean Patrick Thomas). They soon discover mysterious holes in the ground and a catatonic girl buried in the dirt, suggesting that they may not be hunting an ordinary tribe. A sinister enemy seems to be stalking them from below the serene grassy plains of the vast new frontier.

Director JT Petty sustains a level of dread and foreboding as his blend of Western grit and unnerving horror unfolds across the isolated and expansive Dakota Territory. The Burrowers is a creature feature within the context of a true Western–-in fact, it is ostensibly a terror take on John Ford's The Searchers. A profound juxtaposition is forged between the horrific actions of mankind and the mounting horror of what our hero and his posse are about to discover.
Roscoe Pond adds:LIONSGATE bought the distribution rights to this movie after the Toronto Film Festival 2008. They have decided to send this film straight to DVD in the Spring of 2009.

Horror fans who screened the film in Toronto are raving about it.

The Native performers in this Horror Western are...TATANKA MEANS, DAVID MIDTHUNDER and ANTHONY PARKER.
Comment:  Based on the trailer, The Burrowers looks decent. If you're into horror movies, which I'm not. But the fact that Lionsgate is sending it straight to DVD suggests it's lacking something.

The Native actors aren't listed among the top ten cast members on Wikipedia. I gather the Indians' role is minor. The ranchers storm a Lakota encampment, but the Indians set them straight with a legend of "those who dwell below." Or something like that.

For a superior movie about an underground menace, I recommend Tremors. Rob's rating: 9.0 of 10.

Incidentally, David Midthunder (below) is another actor who would make a good Tonto.

For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies.

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