5.7/10
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19 user 3 critic

Natural Selection (1999)

Residents of an East Texas town react strangely when a serial killer invades their small town world.

Director:

(as Mark Bristol)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Glenn Royce (as Darren Burrows)
Elizabeth Barondes ...
Missy Atwood ...
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Martha Graham (as Marina Carradine)
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Johnny Hardwick ...
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Mark Miks ...
Bob Richardson ...
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Storyline

Residents of an East Texas town react strangely when a serial killer invades their small town world.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They know where you live. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

7 October 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Monster Hunter  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$450,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Coach Al Sand: Billy, quit covering your titties and play ball!
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Connections

References The X-Files (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Thurston's Lament
Written and Performed by Michael Fracasso and Charlie Sexton
Episode Sixteen Music/Bug Music (BMI)
Sex Tunes/Sony Music
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User Reviews

Unconventional, well-crafted film that takes us on a wild ride.
8 September 1999 | by (Austin, TX) – See all my reviews

WARNING - CERTAIN PLOT LINES MAY BE REVEALED IN THESE COMMENTS.

A few weeks ago, I attended an advance screening of NATURAL SELECTION. As key grip on the picture, my comments may seem rather slanted, but I feel compelled to share a few thoughts. I shall make every attempt to be objective.

With a quirky, provocative script by BJ Burrow and Allen Odom as his foundation, Bristol has built a crafty film. Even though I was on the crew and watched the scenes as they were being shot, I shall have to watch the final cut several times before I catch all of the surprises that the film offers. It moves along at a brisk pace, and takes us on a wild ride.

In a nutshell, NATURAL SELECTION is a story of boy meets serial killer, boy copies serial killer, cop stalks serial killer, and all hell breaks loose in every conceivable direction.

NATURAL SELECTION wrung from me many different reactions as I watched the story unfold before me. A moment after laughing hysterically at one of the film's many moments of curious comedy, I would find myself jumping involuntarily at one of its startling little twists.

The story revolves around a faux TV documentary which follows a series of killings by Bowen's character, "Willie," and its impact on a small town.

The body of the film chronicles the changes that are inflicted upon the town and its people under the focus of the media.

One of the most compelling moments is a pivotal scene between Bowen and Carradine, in the seedy little motel where Carradine's character, an FBI agent gone over the edge, eventually meets his end. The dichotomy between these two actors - half brothers, incidentally - is palpable.

After the chilling scene in which Carradine's "Dehoven" character is brutally killed, actress Laura House whips us right back into laughter mode. As the motel's housekeeper, she basks in second-hand fame before the camera of the "documentary" crew and leaves the audience with the guilty pleasure of another good howl.

As Dehoven, Carradine demonstrates his skills as one of the great Hollywood journeymen. Throughout the film, I was torn between pity for Dehoven's delusional existence, and biting myself in the lip to keep from laughing at the poor guy's Oliver Hardy-like awkwardness as he shadows Willie. One moment the stammering nebbish, the obsessed predator the next, Dehoven is a joy to watch.

Known for years as "Ed," the young Indian filmmaker in "Northern Exposure," Darren Burrows turns in a riveting portrayal as a small-town guy, transformed by the media attention that the killings have brought to his little berg. He explodes from one emotion to another with chilling fluidity and, with Bowen, emotes both rail-gripping terror and side-busting laughter during their final confrontation.

The lynch pin of the cast is Detective Richards, played by Joe Unger. Richards is the gruff, jaded cop, numbed by a career full of murder investigations, and a downright snarling contempt of the media. With a matter-of-fact take on the situation, punctuated by several well-chosen expletives, we follow this tough-ass cop through the "documentary" and the body of the film as he pulls the story together.

The "TV documentary" is where cameos by such talent as Root, Balaban and Laura House really shine. These performances are beyond excellent as they lead us through the maze and deliver us to its unexpected exit. Root, in particular, is captivating as the father of one of Willie's victims. His turn before the camera is, at the same time, poignant and riotously funny.

The "MVP" of the NATURAL SELECTION production crew has to be Rhet W. Bear, the director of photography. This young cinematographer and his minimalist style gave director Bristol the ideal paint with which to create his witty picture of the Burrow/Odom screenplay.

Again, as one of the film's department heads, it is difficult to be as objective as I would like. Still, I have to say that the film has a bright future ahead of it. NATURAL SELECTION is haunting and hilarious at the same time. It is a complex film which provides a stimulating counterpart to many contemporary works.

I gauge a film by the number of times it would have been okay to skip out to the lobby for a nine-dollar hot dog. When you go see NATURAL SELECTION, I suggest that you eat first.

One thing's for sure. You'll never look at your mailbox the same way again!


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