Thursday, September 25, 2008

FF '08 Film Review: "The Burrowers"

I have to be honest, I wasn't sure what to make of this going in. I love the idea of mixing two genres like westerns and horror, but I can't claim I was too excited to see this one. However, during Fantastic Fest, I made a concerted effort to see anything that I considered to be tried and true horror.

My one sentence review of the film: I was underwhelmed. It's not bad, but it isn't great either. I love slow-paced horror movies - I think I've demonstrated this in previous reviews - but I felt bored in this one overall. I just didn't connect with the film like I wanted. I may just be one of those people that can't see a mix like horror and western actually working - I would really have to see one that blew me out of the water to convince me this is a match. However, that being said, I do appreciate that it was something different and genuinely original.

Two things that didn't work for me, which I believe was what ended up breaking my entertainment of the movie: the love sub-plot, which just seemed a little too fake. This could be for a couple of reasons - the script, in these sections, seemed weak; the acting also seemed to be very wooden.

The second thing I disliked was the ending, which seemed forced and tacked on. To me, if a western and a horror movie are going to mix - why not make it a slow-paced, fading ending instead of a shot to the gut? This was a chance for the film to end on a beautiful note and take advantage of the rather gorgeous cinematography employed throughout the movie. I always want to scream when horror directors don't play to their strengths and instead play to what they think a genre audience wants. It felt like the last 30 minutes of the movie was deliberately contrived to add in the gore/action factor and the film didn't need it. The creepiness of the people being buried and the burrowers themselves was what they should have stuck with, not a balls to the wall action sequence.

Overall, like I said, I was just completely underwhelmed. However, I do think the film is worth a look, although I'll doubt you'll be able to do so without buying the DVD or pirating it. Hell, Lionsgate wouldn't even give "The Midnight Meat Train" a wide release and that was backed (and originally written in short story format) by genre fave Clive Barker.

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