I remember my sheer joy and delight over every minute of Ravenous an unusually original and extremely underrated horror movie. This is not just a horror movie but also an adventure and period movie following a soldier with a highly unusual life story. It looks bloody good despite the relatively smaller budget. I oftentimes talk about how with great movies everything magically falls into the right place. Well, for this movie things were a bit different. The original director Milcho Manchevski left the set after three weeks.
Robert Carlyle suggested Antonia Bird who directed one of his best movies Priest to replace him. After this change, everything just fell into place. The bleak snowy environment, the lack of official structures, and the sheer struggle for survival in the inhospitable terrain of Sierra Nevada take us back through time to a place where life was cheap. There are several incidents that happened around that time in Southern California. Two of the most famous ones are The Donner Party and Alfred Packer.
I urge you not to read up on them until you’ve seen the movie. Ravenous is also one of those movies featuring a supercool opening sequence. About two or three minutes in, I knew this is going to be one hell of a movie. What I didn’t know was just how darkly comical Ravenous is going to be. Almost every five minutes we would get a bizarre line or an outrageous scene showing that you can still make an original horror comedy. And while there’s not much gore in the movie, some of the scenes were quite disturbing.
Meet Captain John Boyd, a courageous fellow who just got a medal for his outstanding service in one of the crucial battles in the American-Mexican war. The year is 1847 and Boyd ends up in a remote fort in California. It would seem that nothing much happens here but soon things take a turn for the worse. And Boyd finds himself in the middle of something he couldn’t have imagined in his wildest dreams. Something that only existed in Native American myths. Myths about Wendigo…
I should not forget to mention just how good the soundtrack for Ravenous is. The music fits perfectly with what we’re seeing on the screen, adding one more layer to this already stunningly good movie. It’s just so damn entertaining that I’m sure even those viewers who don’t like horror movies will enjoy it. I guess the snow and western setting will help with that. Of course, you can count on some excellent performances.
Two veterans, Guy Pearce and Robert Carlyle played their roles pitch-perfect, something that’s incredibly important when it comes to horror comedies. And I’m sure you’re going to recognize most of the supporting cast. So, if you’re looking for an underrated, original and captivating horror movie with a lot of black humor, Ravenous is a perfect choice. Oh, and one last thing, please do not watch the trailer or anything else and just dive into this glorious experience. You’ll thank me later.
Director: Antonia Bird
Writer: Ted Griffin
Cast: Guy Pearce, Robert Carlyle, Jeremy Davies, David Arquette, Jeffrey Jones, Neal McDonough
Fun Facts: It is 25 minutes into the film before Guy Pearce’s lead character, who is in virtually every scene, utters his first full sentence.