The Burrowers Starring Clancy Brown, Sean Patrick Thomas, William Mapother, Doug Hutchison, Karl Geary
Written and Directed by J.T. Perry
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Release Date: April 21, 2009
Sometimes when you have a seen a lot of movies, you tend to jump the gun on your opinion of the film before you watch it. When I looked at the cover for The Burrowers, I have to tell ya, I thought the movie was going to be terrible. It is not rare occurrence. When you review a lot of types of movies, they are not all gems. Some are just dreadful but sometimes, when the stars are aligned, a movie can really surprise you and this movie did just that.
The Burrowers is a movie mash up like once you have not seen. It is 1879 and when farmhand Coffey discovers his betrothed has been taken by Indians in the dead of night, he rounds up a few good men to find her and bring her back. What they find on this journey are freakish looking monsters called Burrowers that only come out at night and have a penchant for grabbing, paralyzing, and eating humans.
There are many things that I liked about this movie but above all else, I like it because it has everything stacked up against it to make it a terrible movie. The plot is borderline absurd, no one on the cast is a household name, and the concept in itself is hit or miss. I mean cowboys vs. monsters? It just sounds so silly but somehow the film works, and there a several reasons for this.
For one thing, all the actors involved are very convincing in their roles and take it seriously. This coupled by the fact that most of the actors are relatively unknown, allows the viewer the chance for the actor’s performance to speak for itself. The solid script also helps the actors a great deal. JT Perry, who you may know as the writer for many of the Splinter Cell games, crafts a mighty intriguing story, rich with suspense. The dialogue is decent and the pacing is solid. The film was constantly moving. The movie is not all that scary but the suspense is there and for a low budget film, the production value looks pretty high. If I had not known better, I would have assumed the movie played in theaters first.
With monsters meet the Wild West mash-up, the concept by itself is interesting but it needs to be executed correctly, with both the writer and director sharing the same vision. Perry probably knew this, which is why he is directing the film himself. There is nothing particularly impressive about his direction per se, but I like the fact that I do not know him nor anyone else. The story just unfolds before your eyes. No fancy camera tricks, just good old fashion point the camera and shoot but it works for the movie. I also like how movie savvy Perry is when and how his monster appears in the film. For the entire duration of the movie, viewers only get one chance to see the monsters in broad daylight. Most of the time they appear at night and look pretty realistic in the dark. It helps maintain the illusion that this monster looks and feels real.
The DVD offers the standard DVD extras from featurettes to trailers. Nothing too fancy but it is the movie that you should pay attention to. The Burrowers is a little movie that could. The premise is interesting, the dialogue is sound, and the direction is pretty good. If you are interested in seeing a movie that will surprise you, pick this movie up.