Isolation is scary. Imagine you were in the middle of nowhere, miles from civilization. And imagine it was a hostile wilderness, or one that often seemed to be hostile.
Isolation is scary- physical, geographical isolation. Obviously, emotional isolation can be terrifying too (Repulsion, Rosemary’s Baby)- but we’re talking Middle-Of-Nowhere isolation. And not just no signal on the cell… we’re talking there aren’t phones.
In fact, take that education and that modern intelligence and lose that too. You are alone, you are afraid, you are full of misinformation and you are armed.
Nice combination. Meet The Burrowers
I’m often surprised at how few good horror-westerns there are. The problems are that a lot of people associate Westerns with a hokey, “aw shucks” John Wayne sentimentality, or they just get the trappings of the immoral and cynical Spag Westerns and add zombies… this isn’t one of those.
This is a Western- yes, like The Searchers and it proudly shows it’s colors in two scenes that reference the Ford classic. It is a horror film- not cute and self-referential and funny, but trying hard to make you care about characters before having horrible, tragic, sad things happen to them.
It is a post-modern western, it has over a hundred years worth of archetypes to play with. It has an unapologetic look at how a lot of people viewed blacks, women and indians on the frontier. It has an amazing, lived-in performance by William Mapother. It has Clancy Brown and Doug Hutchinson. Despite it being one of these modern, post The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford westerns- as in, it looks fucking incredible, beautifully shot and all and unafraid to take its time- despite that it has a very 1970s feel.
This is a terrific little movie, I enjoyed it immensely and keep thinking about it: my two favorite genres seamlessly combined for the first time in forever.