The old saying goes: see one good western flick and you’ll want to see more immediately. After a phenomenal Bone Tomahawk, I started researching the whole horror/western genre and found this gem from 2008. This is by no means one of those hyper-produced movies that are being manufactured like crazy in recent years. They usually feature one or two names with some recognition (Danny Trejo seems to be the favorite) and terrible story-lines combined with relatively low budgets.
The Burrowers is an old school movie, with decent production values, awesome practical effects, and hardly noticeable CGI. Moreover, it’s a creature feature for fuck’s sake! The acting and the main story are also good, featuring a lot of juicy lore about The Burrowers. Detailed origin and survival story about them is something that I really enjoyed. Sometimes movie chooses to leave everything shrouded in mystery but The Burrowers chose a different path.
The year is 1879 and the settling of the American continent by the newcomers has just begun. The vast wilderness hides many opportunities and dangers as few settlements struggle to survive in a hostile world. After one of the families disappears under the cover of the night, presumably taken by Indians, men organize themselves and launch a search party. Into the darkness, they went…
The atmosphere and the pacing of The Burrowers are quite strange, the movie starts rather slowly, building up with intense atmosphere and mystery but the key moments feel a bit bland at times. The first part of the movie is a bit slow, but things pick up in the second half. Visuals are pretty good, with some pretty gnarly scenes. After all, everything feels dusty and nasty in this setting. And you get a real sense of agoraphobia in these open plains where danger can lung at you from any direction.
Yes, this is not a perfect movie, but the stars of it and the thing that keeps everything together are The Burrowers that were just perfect. And no wonder they are, when they spent almost three years in development! Clancy Brown (Kurgan from Highlander or Sgt. Zim from Starship Troopers) confidently led our posse in their efforts to get to the bottom of the massacre. His seriousness along with the rest of the cast kept things believable and engaging. So, if you’ve watched all the Tremors movies, this one could be a great choice. And if you’re looking to expand your burrowing creature-feature marathon I also recommend you check out Screamers.
Director: J.T. Petty
Writer: J.T. Petty
Cast: Clancy Brown, William Mapother, Karl Geary, Doug Hutchison, Tatanka Means, Seri DeYoung
Fun Facts: J.T. Petty wrote the first draft of the script, originally titled ‘10,000 Little Indians’, around 2002.