Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Film #8: 'The Burrowers'

'The Burrowers' is a 2008 monster/ western/ horror movies which it would be very easy to get wrong.

The films begins with the attack and subsequent disappearance of a family in dirt-farm country, in 1879.
This attack leads to a search party being led out in search of a Native American tribe who are presumed to be behind the attack, and to the discovery that it is not any person who is capable of the attacks on people in the area.

This film was hidden away on Netflix, with a strange cover....

... and I could only find that trailer, all of which make the film look incredibly cheap and easy to pass on - but I have 30 days of films to cover so I can't afford to be picky.
And thank sh*t I'm not picky, because this film was worth the watch. The films plays itself like a western for the first 2 thirds/ 3 quarters, with the slow inward creep that something inhuman is involved, as the group is slowly separated and eliminated by the monsters and by Native Americans whom they blame.

The creatures, Burrowers, aren't over-used, creeping in to their attack, before scuttling away like hungry animals, not running like desperate predators being thrown around to look like vicious, gore thirsty maniacs.
So, no, while it would have been easy to make this a schlock-fest of terrible creatures attacking a bunch of people in hats and dusty clothes the film doesn't rush itself to a reveal or confrontation.
It is a film which deserves the poster/ cover that is everywhere else for it:

It was just a decent creature feature, which are rare these days, since the genre is pretty much at whatever level SyFy movies of the week has them at. That's not necessarily a bad thing, I have a weakness for some of these tv movies, but the massive flaw they all have is in their characters, setting, tone, story and pacing. OK, so the most that can be said for SyFy movies is that they have a high success rate with their names. The delivery tends to be flat & unimaginative in pretty much every way.
Sometimes they get lucky, yes 'Sharknado 2: The Second One', was ridiculous but still managed to have fun with it's stupid idea; but the majority of them tend to be "Mega Python vs. Gatoroid", "Sharktopus", Piranhaconda" or "Dinoshark" type fodder whose names far exceed any entertainment value from watching them. Actually, 'Sharktopus' was ok, but my point stands.

My point is that creature films can be good if the idea is worked on, the atmosphere is right, and it's not just a "We thought of a monster let's just show it killing people!" throwaway.
90% of the new creature films I've seen in the last while are forgettable sh*t.
'The Burrowers' isn't.
Decent western atmosphere, slow start but it builds to feature some good moments and the odd scare.

'The Burrowers' is available on Netflix UK & Ireland. 

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