A ragtag group of well-meaning townsfolk in 18th century midwest America go in search of victims kidnapped by a feared clan of cave-dwelling cannibals, about whom little is known.
Western horrors are few and far between. They really don’t come along often, and it’s such a pleasurable meshing of genres when they do that nailing it only serves to heighten the experience. This one was a real curveball of a surprise, I have to admit.
Starts out with a brief but creepy introduction to our lethally predatory antagonists before ruggedly commencing into a sawdust-on-the-floor-western, which gradually descends into gruesome horror towards the final act. Patrick Wilson pulls out all the stops as the crippled hubby looking to rescue his wife, whose stubborn determination to locate and recover his beloved, and keep up with the more able-bodied rescue party despite his afflictions is heart-rendingly portrayed, utilising a nifty twist towards the end to give him an unexpected and much needed upper hand. Kurt Russell is as ever is on form as the sheriff leading the search and rescue mission, with the almost useless but loyal assistance of a nearly unrecognisable Richard Jenkins as his doddery old deputy. As I mentioned earlier, the horror takes a while to turn up, but the journey there is a real authentically period treat of character acting, and when the darkness does arrive it brings with it a particularly gruesome death, and without giving too much away, there’s an astoundingly well written heroic final line that almost brings tears to your eyes, if not at least an approving air-punch. Each person cast is a joy to watch, bringing their own eccentricities, pretensions, and reliability to the table. Hell even Sean Young holds her own in her brief appearance.
I thoroughly enjoyed this. It does what films are ultimately meant to do: Tell a cracker of a story. CANNI-BALLISTIC
Director: S. Craig Zahler
Starring: Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Richard Jenkins, David Arquette, Matthew Fox
Running Time: 132 Mins
Release Date: 23rd October 2015