The Burrowers 2008…
“A band of courageous men sets out to find and recover a family of settlers that has mysteriously vanished from their home. Expecting the offenders to be a band of fierce natives, the group prepares for a routine battle. But they soon discover that the real enemy stalks them from below.” – Written by Anonymous
After watching that Harrow Woods disaster of a movie, The Burrowers was a sight for sore eyes. It’s not great, it’s not even really that good. But, the acting is really good. Best of all there weren’t any characters doing really stupid things and Lionsgate stuck it’s name to it so it had some production quality.
This movie is set in the old west. It’s kinda of like a road trip movie meets Tremors only it’s set in the late 1800’s. That being said, I liked that it didn’t fall to a lot of old west stereo-types. The dialog was decent, the characters were believable.
There are few things that keep me from wholeheartedly recommending it. First off, it’s really slow going. There’s hope at the beginning for a nicely paced film but then it just bogs itself down for no reason. The film opens with a man and women in a field. They seem to care for each other. It’s in slow motion so it seems to be a memory. Then it’s present day or rather I am guessing later that night and the family is attacked by something. We can’t see what it is, there’s no gore, just a lot of screaming.
The next day or hero shows up and discovers members of the family massacred and the girl he cares for is missing. A manhunt is underway. Lot’s of characters on horseback all assuming it was those nasty Indians that massacred the family and kidnapped the women. This is when it all slows down and never really picks back up. It’s just one of many things I had problems with.
One of those things that bothered me was the lack of payback. There’s a character in the movie that is such an asshole. So horrible, played to perfection by Doug Hutchison. He is one of the actors that can play a character so well, you think he’s not acting. Anyways, this character is obviously set up as the bad guy. And, what do we want to see happen to every bad guy in a movie? We want them to see them die magnificently. We want payback for all the shitty things they’ve done. Well, don’t hold your breath because that doesn’t happen.
I know the intent of this is to make the audience feel something when we get to the end of the movie. I get what they were trying to do. It’s something Rod Serling did better than anyone in the Twilight Zone. He made you think, and there was always that little twist where we think our protagonist finally wins the day and then at the last moment, something from beyond his control ruins everything. The thing to remember when trying to do this in your film, you’re not Rod Serling. All you’re going to do is to piss off your audience and make the audience feel like they just got robbed.
Some people like that feeling, some people will watch this movie and feel for our hero at the outcome. I can see people saying things like, “That’s fucked up.” Or, “Oh that has to suck!”. The rest of us are just going to hate the ending. A good ending to a book or a movie is critical to it’s success. You can have Gone with the Wind for 89 minutes but if that last minute doesn’t pay off for the masses, it’s not going to be successful.
If you want to keep making movies you play to the crowd. I am not saying you can’t create art. Not saying you’re not talented. Just saying that there isn’t a filmmaker, a sports legend, an artist that just woke up created a masterpiece. Play to the crowd and get some practice first before you go all Rod Serling on us. Take it from me, I write a blog on the internet no one reads… Because, I’m still in practice mode. See how I brought that back full circle.
Final conclusion, I’m on the bubble with this one. It’s an interesting story, you can’t beat the acting and the ending isn’t completely predictable.
Cast of Characters:
Clancy Brown as John Clay
William Mapother as William Parcher
Laura Leighton as Gertrude Spacks
Sean Patrick Thomas as Walnut Callaghan
Doug Hutchison as Henry Victor
Karl Geary as Fergus Coffey
Galen Hutchison as Dobie Spacks
Jocelin Donahue as Maryanne Stewart