I’m a huge fan of westerns, from The Tremors prequel, to The Wild Bunch, something about the desolate location really gives off a feeling of freedom. There are no cell phones, no cars, a person can just up and disappear as quickly as they came around.
The Burrowers, directed by J.T Petty, is the tale of a small rescue party, trying to hunt down a missing family, believed to be taken by Indians. The majority of the film takes place following the rescue party around as they interact with the army, as well as different tribes of Indians, learning about a tribe called The Burrowers. But are the Burrowers really another tribe, or something much much worse?
The Burrowers comes in at 96 minutes, but it feels like forever. While the setting, and the direction of the film both look and feel great, the story really moves slowly. It’s almost an hour in by the time we first see what The Burrowers are, and another half an hour before we really get to enjoy it. The interactions with the different tribes is entertaining at first, but ends up feeling dragged out after just a few scenes. While the story moves slow, the pay off of the ending is great, not for the effects, but for the complete downer ending, reminiscent of The Mist.
The film looks great, there’s some nice wide shots, and some decent effects. The Burrowers have an interesting look to them, but they almost don’t feel right in the movie. The action scenes with them are quite basic as well, leaving much to be desired. It feels that just as things start to get going, it’s over. The film has some great acting in it, with only a few of the side characters, members of the army, hamming it up.
If it wasn’t for how slow the story moves, the film would get a higher rating from me. As far as western horror cinema goes, it’s a solid entry, and a step in the right direction towards a great cross over film. The film is worth watching if your a fan of bleak endings, or westerns in general, just don’t go looking for more than it offers.
Score – B-
Gore – 5/10