Friday, April 24, 2009

Straight to Video Gems: The Burrowers

As I struggle to establish some interesting posts on my blog, I've decided to try to get some regular (or semi-regular) themes going, and one of them is my finds for the straight to video movies I've seen that have actually proven to be good (or bad). This was actually inspired by the last one I watched recently, The Burrowers. I feel that some of these movies don't get the attention they deserve when they are often times much better than whatever Hollywood churns out to the theaters (case in point: The Unborn). So I'll try to give you guys some recommendations about movies by telling you to either go buy them or stay the hell away. I won't review them in the same way I review most movies, but just give you a little more info or impetus to see them. So, without further ado, I'll get into THE BURROWERS!

I was fairly impressed with this little Lion's Gate flick. It came out 4/21/09 on DVD, so I decided to check it out. I'm a sucker for lower budget, indie American horror because I want to believe that we can still do horror that isn't a remake (either of a classic or foreign film). I'm also a sucker for a movie that doesn't just sound like every other movie out there. When I saw the ads for this movie and it didn't say something about "teens in a remote spot are stalked by a masked/mysterious/inbred killer", I was intrigued. A basic rundown according to IMDB:

"It is 1879 in the Dakota Territories. A handful of brave pioneers maintain isolated settlements in the badlands beyond civilization. Irish Immigrant Fergus Coffey is near to winning the hand of his beloved Maryanne when she is suddenly taken from him, her family brutally abducted in a nighttime attack on their homestead. Suspicion falls immediately on hostile Indians. Experienced Indian fighters Will Parcher and John Clay form a posse and set out to rescue the kidnapped settlers, taking along a naïve teenager hoping to prove himself a man, an ex-slave looking to find his place in the world and their ranch-hand, Coffey. 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."

Right away, it's interesting to see a horror movie set in the old west (yes, I'm aware it's been done before). In fact, one of my other straight to video favorites is also set in the old west (more to come in a future article about that one). The movie is well acted and the special effects are pretty impressive for how small the budget was. The crew of men go out to try to find the lost family they figure was attacked by Indians, but they end up discovering the burrowers took them. As they try to discover what the burrowers are (they think initially they are a tribe they've never heard of), the men find an incapacitated girl with a strange wound on her neck.

The best part of the movie is just how much thought they put into the creatures themselves. They look interesting enough, but how they kill their victims is the interesting part. They make a wound in the neck with their claws, then spit some strange saliva on the wound. That clots the blood so they don't bleed, but also paralyzes the victims. Then they bury the person alive and leave them like that for a couple of days. After a few days of the venom coursing through the person, the burrowers come back to feed on the soft parts of the human... while they are still alive. It's an eerie death and when you see a victim that's been buried trying to signal another person but all they can do is move their pinky, it's rather unnerving. And to think about being fed on while you are still alive is scary enough as it is.

As I said before, the acting is ample and you will see a couple of familiar faces thrown in there (Clancy Brown and Doug Hutchinson are the most notable). The nice thing is that the writer knew what he was doing with the ending too, as it has a Night of the Living Dead style reveal with the humans being the real monsters. It's a fairly intelligent little flick with some nice script work in there.

All and all, The Burrowers ends up being an above average horror flick. It's nothing incredible, but a worthy addition to any horror fan's collection for sure. It's nice to find these flicks every once in a while, even if I have to wade through some shit along the way. But I definitely approve of The Burrowers and encourage you all to check it out and tell me what you think! If you don't want to buy it, it is available via Netflix and there are some places to get it from the internet. I downloaded it first, but I am definitely picking this one up in the near future. Hope you guys enjoy it! Here's the trailer for the movie if you haven't seen it yet:

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