In a remote military outpost in the 19th Century, Captain John Boyd and his regiment embark on a rescue mission which takes a dark turn when they are ambushed by a sadistic cannibal.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
George (as Joseph Running Fox)
Sheila Tousey ...
Gabriel Berthier ...
Pedro Altamirano ...
Joseph Boyle ...


Captain John Boyd receives a promotion after defeating the enemy command in a battle of the Mexican-American War, but because the general realizes it was an act of cowardice that got him there, he is given a backhanded promotion to Fort Spencer, where he is third in command. The others at the fort are two Indians, George and his sister, Martha, who came with the place, Chaplain Toffler, Reich, the soldier; Cleaves, a drugged-up cook; and Knox, who is frequently drunk. When a Scottish stranger named Colquhoun appears and recovers from frostbite almost instantly after being bathed, he tells a story about his party leader, Ives, eating members of the party to survive. As part of their duty, they must go up to the cave where this occurred to see if any have survived. Only Martha, Knox, and Cleaves stay behind. George warns that since Colquhoun admits to eating human flesh, he must be a Windigo, a ravenous cannibalistic creature. Written by Scott Hutchins <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for considerable gore and strong violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




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Release Date:

19 March 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Vorace  »

Box Office


$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$1,040,727 (USA) (19 March 1999)


$2,060,953 (USA) (30 April 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Both music composers Michael Nyman and Damon Albarn were born on a March 23. See more »


When Boyd and Reich enter the cave, Colquhoun remains outside with hands tied. But, mysteriously, when the movie cuts back to Colquhoun his hands are free and he is gesturing madly. The next time the movie cuts back to Colquhoun he's holding a big knife in his hands, he could have dug up the knife from the dirt and used it to free his hands, although the rope is not on the ground by the hole. See more »


Colonel Hart: Stew a la Major Knox...
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Crazy Credits

The film begins with a famous quote by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900): "He that fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster." Nietzsche's surname is misspelled as 'Nietzche'. Shortly after, a comedic quote appears below Nietzsche's: "Eat Me" - Anonymous. See more »


Featured in The Ravenous Tales of Colonel Hart (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

"It's what's for dinner..."

This is an exceedingly well-made film which, in its portrayal of cannabalism, suggests other themes as well: physical and moral courage and cowardice, exploitation of other people, the evils of carnivorousness...

Taut-faced, moody Lt. John Boyd (Guy Pearce) turns yellow under fire in the Mexican War, but somehow manages to accidentally capture an enemy command post. He is rewarded with a medal, a promotion to Captain, and a transfer to a lonely outpost in the western Sierra Nevada range in California by a commanding officer who sees the cowardice behind the supposed heroism. There, a disheveled stranger (Robert Carlyle, doing his best Rasputin impersonation) stumbles into the post, telling a horrible tale of snowbound travellers in a wagon train feeding on each other when their food runs out. The affable C.O. (Jeffrey Jones, looking as seedy as you might expect an officer in a California outpost in the 1840's to look) decides to investigate, leading his small band of soldiers to a horrible destiny. Jeremy Davies, who played the nerdy corporal in "Saving Private Ryan" also appears, playing pretty much the same character.

All the parts in this movie were excellent - all the performances were outstanding, the photography and editing were great, and the score was amazing. However, although I really enjoyed this movie, it didn't add up as be the great film it should have been. Much of the time, I felt as if I should have been really scared and nervous, but I found myself watching with some detachment, almost as if I were watching a ball game between two teams I wasn't really rooting for.

I don't want the reader to think I didn't like this movie, though. It was really good. It just wasn't outstanding, that's all.

I did like Sheila Tousey as Martha, the Native American woman who lived and worked at the outpost. She was really cute in a sort of Earth Mother kind of way.

20 of 28 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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