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The Burrowers is written and directed by J.T. Petty. It stars William Mapother, Sean Patrick Thomas, Clancy Brown, Laura Leighton, Doug Hutchison, Karl Geary and Robert Richard. Music is by Joseph LoDuca and cinematography by Phil Parmet.
August the 11th 1879, the Dakota territories, and after a family of pioneers are abducted a posse is formed and go off in search of the culprits. It is believed they have fallen prey to hostile Native Americans, but once out in the wilds the truth hits home and the posse find themselves in a brutal and bloody fight for survival.
It's not like Tremors! That wonderful homage to the B movie creature features of the 1950s is played for laughs and action thrills. The Burrowers admittedly on plot synopsis' does lend one to think that a fun packed creature feature is in the offering, but as many unaware film fans have found out, this is far from being the case.
I would rather walk in the right direction than ride with my head up my ass.
The Burrowers takes itself seriously, and not insultingly so. J.T. Petty wanted to make a Horror/Western but not in the schlocky sense. He even infuses the narrative with some human concerns and statements, ecologically and racially so.
The pace is very, very deliberate, so potential first time viewers need to take that into consideration. Once the plot is kick started in the opening salvo, the posse go out into the wilds and interact, for better and worse, dialogue is sharp and pointed, intelligent even.
A number of great character based scenes are setting the tone for what is a downbeat picture, while when the action comes in tantalising spurts, it's well marshalled by Petty, and it's not just all about the creatures either.
The look is of a classical Western, which considering the modest budget is quite some achievement. From costuming and props, to the colour palette, the film convinces as the Old West of 1879. In this regard it would have been very interesting to have seen Petty make a standalone Oater.
Practical effects are very decent and CGI is wisely used sparingly, though the big showdown at pic's end is something of a let down. Elsewhere Sir Clancy of Brown and Doug The Thug Hutchison are sadly under written, though the face fuzz department scores high marks!
A tricky one to recommend to either Horror or Western fans, but for atmosphere and a great sense of period - and no little amount of originality as well, it's worth checking out as long as you don't expect Tremors. 7/10
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