Regardless of the sparkling buzz, I have been avoiding THE BURROWERS. Yes, I’m shallow, the DVD case turned me off and I feared it was going to be some dusty, sepia-toned worm-run-amuck movie (although come to think of it, that doesn’t sound so bad.) What finally piqued my curiosity was learning that it spawned from the mind of J.T. PETTY who made the compact, claustrophobic and marvelously against the grain MIMIC 3: THE SENTINEL. (Add that fact to the film’s current hand reach availability on Fearnet and my being semi-voluntarily confined to an ALF snuggie and you have yourself a sealed deal.)
Hooray for my noodle limp resolve, THE BURROWERS is worm free, my new crush JOCELIN DONAHUE (THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL) is in the first scene (though not much more), and rather than being crusty and dusty, it’s a beautifully shot film that answers that question nobody ever asked, “ What if TERRENCE MALICK directed ALIEN?”
Now before you slip on your Sketchers and run to the video store, I mean mailbox, I mean computer or remote (if you should also have Fearnet) let me warn you that this movie paces itself much like a classic western so it requires a certain amount of patience. This means no squirmy monster dessert until you’ve eaten all your peas! The peas here are pretty tasty and fortifying though, you might just like them.
When a frontier family disappears in the dead of night it’s reckoned by all that it must be the work of Indians. A search party is formed that includes a young Irish immigrant named Fergus (likable MIMIC 3 star KARL GEARY) whose heart belongs to one of the missing. As the group of men ventures further into the wild they discover that their assumptions are way off and that something sinister is UNDER foot.
As if creatures that poison and then bury their victims underground only to chomp on their “soft bits” later were not bad enough, our rag tag cavalry is plagued with willful ignorance, covert agendas and a douche-y guy who purposely mistranslates the native tongue to suit his own needs. Yep, a bit more effort in the communication department may have saved some lives here folks, that and a smidge of respect for the land. See, the “burrowers” used to dine on buffalo but with no more buffalo around eating humans is their only recourse. Don’t judge, desperation can make you eat anything; how else can you explain airplane food? (ba-dum-bump!)
THE BURROWERS slowly unspools the suspense, like the aforementioned ALIEN it mischievously plays with darkness and shadow to keep the viewer on edge. There’s also a rather compelling drama here about a group of men playing king of the hill to their own detriment. It even ultimately touches upon accepting loss and the fact that some things just can’t be made right again thanks to the larger powers at play. It also stars the one and only CLANCY BROWN, maybe I should have mentioned that in the first place.