Plot: In the Old West, a sheriff (Kurt Russell), his deputy (Richard Jenkins), a gunslinger (Matthew Fox),and a cowboy (Patrick Wilson) embark on a mission to rescue three people from a savage group of cave dwellers.
The heroes: Our brave rescue party of four (whoever gets that reference gets the rest of my Halloween candy).
The antagonists: The cannibalistic tribe of Indians, who are not only outnumbering our heroes but are also completely ruthless and have some sort of bone stuck in their throats so they can emit the call that is seriously creepy as fuck.
Best scene: The whole film is a string of best scenes, really.
Oh-oh something's not right line: You have no chance against any number of them.
What makes it so great?
I am strangely not big a fan of western ever though my second favorite
show of all time (Deadwood) and one of my all time favorite westerns
(The Assassination of Jesse James) come from this genre. But I am a
huge fan of horror. So when, as soon as this movie hit VOD, there were
many raves and positive reviews for this and I saw it stars Richard
Jenkins, an actor who simply never fails, I decided to watch it and what
a good decision it was.
The film is a perfect blend of western and horror - it spends 3/4 of its
running time following the western formula - letting us get familiar
with the feel of the film, the location, the pace and most of all get
used to and really like the main four heroes, who with no regard for the
safety of their own, go on perhaps suicide mission to rescue the people
taken by the enemy. There are no doubts whether they should go - they
just go, which already makes us admire them for their bravery.
So when in the final 1/4 of the film the movie switches to full blown horror, it's really shocking, but very important thing here - it is not jarring. The horror shares the same setting as western and there is nothing supernatural about it. We really care about these four man and everything that happens to them is so affecting. The film really holds no punches and a happy ending for everyone involved is out of the question. The script is strong and unique but it is the incredible performances - from everyone other than Lili Simmons, playing Wilson's wife - that really make an impression.
Kurt Russell brings so much heart to his character here, playing a good-hearted and courageous sheriff. Patrick Wilson, who I usually find kinda bland, is very impressive and his part required a lot of physical acting which he was very good in. Richard Jenkins is obviously fantastic as slightly dim-witted but totally lovable sheriff's right hand but the biggest fuck you haters in years that I've seen is from Matthew Fox who completely stole the show as ladies man and Indian hunter John Brooder. He is just amazing. The role was originally going to go to Timothy Olyphant who would be a great choice too, but there is a certain dandiness to Fox that just works so well here. Also damn, does the script works well for him - if you didn't shed tears for Saucy you are a fuckin' monster.
The film also has a great amount of humour, but not Tarantino kind of humour - just good old fashion funny lines ("Why are you so determined to read literature while takin' a bath?") or a simple situation humour and none of it is mean spirited. There is also a great deal of heart here and the sense of support and camaraderie between the heroes. It all makes what happens later more affecting. And then there is cinematography - for the film that cost 1.8 mln $ and was shot in 21 days, this is a god damn work of art.
Scare factor: - 4/5 evil pumpkins - The jump scares are not present here - but you will have to look far for something scarier than practically silent and very sudden appearance of Indians on the screen right before the massacre or a fight to the death occurs. Also one shouldn't think too much about what it must have been to be in a cage like that. What is in fact the scariest thing here is that it is entirely possible that things like that happened back then all the time
Gore factor:- 5/5 bloody Leatherfaces - There is almost no gore until the last 1/4 of the film, but when it rains, it pours. If you didn't look away during one particular scene - and those who watched it don't even need me to point out which scene I'm referring to - you are one badass motherfucker.
Is there a twist? No, it's good old fashioned rescue/suicide mission. What we assume is at the end of that road, is in fact at the end of that road.
Unsuitable for: Those who don't handle gore well.
Repercussions: You can't unsee that scene. You just can't. There is no amount of cute dogs videos and Tom Hardy interviews you can watch that will make you unsee that fucking scene.