Monday, May 04, 2009

The Burrowers (Review)

The Burrowers

The Burrowers (2008)

Directed by J.T Petty

It's Tremors but as a western!

C'mon you know that's what you were thinking too.

Didn't they have a Tremors sequel that took place in the old west? I swear they did. And it starred the dad from Family Ties. Right?

In any case, The Burrowers follows that same formula. It's a tried and true balance of underground animal monsters feasting on our ancestors. Well not my ancestors...but maybe yours.

Just a step above Sci-Fi quality, it's a mediocre film with very cool monster effects blending in CGI, animatronics and old classic prosthetics. The story is a bit recycled and has more political correctness than you'd think existed back in the 1800s.

All in all, it's a decent monster movie, westernized but makes 90 minutes feel like an eternity.

Boring Plot-O-Matic

A band of courageous men sets out to find and recover a family of settlers that has mysteriously vanished from their home. Expecting the offenders to be a band of fierce natives, the group prepares for a routine battle. But they soon discover that the real enemy stalks them from below.

Awesome Review-O-Matic

The similarities to Tremors and Feast is ever evident. Though both those films are horror comedies, The Burrowers is straight forward horror. What JT Petty gives us is a slow burn of suspense, some glimpses of monster attacks and a United Nations band of gun slinging slingers.

After a family is slaughtered, a John Wayne average joe, a transplanted Irish bloke, his compadre wrangler and his stepson join the calvary to find the Indians that may have slaughtered the family.

The cast is filled with "That Guys and Girls". Clancy Brown (It's that guy from Starship Troopers!), William Mapother (It's that guy Ethan from Lost!) Doug Hutchison,
(It's that killer guy from the X-Files and that Dharma guy from Lost!) Sean Patrick Thomas (It's that guy from Barbershop!) and even Laura Leighton (It's that girl from Melrose Place!).

The filmed is filled with lots of the racist stereotypes of the Old West you'd expect. White man hates the Indians. Indians hate the white man. White man hates the blacks. Blacks hate the white man. Monsters hate and eat white man, red man and black man all equally. Thank the monsters for racial tolerance and not discriminating on eating anybody.

For the most part, the film is a mystery as the group head to an Indian reservation to find answers. They torture a poor Indian scout looking for answers. Soon a group of 5 venture out on their own.

Petty delves into the nature vs people aspect in the flick. The burrowers leave holes and in a Discovery channel docu-style he films ants within the holes. It's a theme ever evident in the film and the motivation of our hungry hungry hippoes.

They quickly disover a body, buried alive and motionless. The film hints at some jump scare moments but never delivers. There are so many set ups shots of these quick edit scare moments but nothing ever happens. Most of these in the dark, suspense buildup movies are very dependant on these jolts of BOO! But Jetty just teases and that's a drawback.

Soon after losing one of their own in a Sioux battle, they meet an Indian women whose family has been killed byu these burrowing monsters. She tells them the burrowers use to eat buffalo but once the white man killed all the bison, they searched for other food...and they got a liking to human flesh.

They use a poison to paralyze their victims then eat their organs when they've gotten mushy. I guess it's like ice cream. Thanks to the white men of old America, the monsters are looking to us as takeout.

The monsters themselves are very different from what we've seen. No slug like creatures in Tremors or big mouthy monsters like in Feast. These creatures look like that alien bug in starship troopers. They move on their inverted hind legs and have long nails to slash their victims. It's quite an odd looking monster, something new that makes them standout.

The ending is climatic battle of the remaining survivors against the horde of burrowsers. As we are on top of the food chain, you can guess who comes out on top. Though, the movie trudges along for an extra 5-6 minutes to give us our obligatory unhappy ending (remember, the politics of the day can't possibly have any minority survive this film) and we see one last glimmer of our monster (probably Lions Gate is hoping to poop out a Burrowers sequel if this does straight to DVD well).

The Burrowers is not a perfect movie by any means. It's very slow at times and their is no character you start to care about. However, it's setting is different for a monster movie and the monsters make sure your alert the entire time.

There aren't many monster movies coming out so the Burrowers may be your only outlet if you need your Mimic/The Relic/Tremors/Feast beasties fix.

Not good, not bad...this is as mediocre as you can get.


Shotgun blasts
Ankle/foot trauma
Burrowers trauma
Bear trap trauma
Fingernail trauma


Damn I wish Laura Leighton got nude...but she didn' nada

WTF moment

The Burrowers burn up due to sunlight??? WTF???

The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis

Welcome to Lion's Gate horror. Nothing new here but your average horror-core. Here are some fun facts from what I gathered:

1.) There is a "The Burrowers" TV series that leads up to the movie
2.) JT Petty also directed Mimic 3
3.) Entirely filmed in New Mexico

The Burrowers. Monsters + eating people = fun-verage!



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