Reed Alexander's Horror Review of 'The Burrowers' (2008)
Winner of the "Darkest Ending" award.
Holy HELL what a fucking dark ending! I obviously can't get into that without going into the spoilers, but look forward to it at the end of this here review.
Overall, it was a good movie with surprisingly good acting for what seemed like a movie made on a budget. It was also visually dark as a way to cover its budget CGI FX. While I can say that the acting could be a little hammy at times, for the most part, it was better than I'd expect for horror. Clancy Brown is even in it, and with him, it could go either way depending on the tone of the movie.
And for the tone, Jesus FUCK it was glib! The beginning of the movie starts with a massacre and of course, you don't get to find out what caused it at first. As this takes place during America's Westward Expansion, all the characters expect foul play by Native Americans. Now, we as the audience know there's obviously more to it than that, but they lay on American settler racism THICK. The characters immediately capture and start torturing the first Native they come across. This becomes a theme. Even when it starts to become obvious that it wasn't Natives, the characters are like "Yup, it was Natives, let's kill them all."
This means the plot ends up all over the place. The Captain of the American forces sent to hunt down the natives is convinced it's the Sioux, the rest of the party starts to figure out that it's not, and the group just splits. And, of course, because they still think it's Natives, they end up picking a fight with Natives.
This movie really hammers in the anti-Native prejudice of Westward Expansion. That's basically got more to do with the plot than the actual Burrowers. So yeah, the plot is a bit all over the place. Actually, the whole movie is pretty much a mess, with the characters constantly coming and going and mostly chasing their tails.
Even still, overall the movie is good and I can recommend it.
Let me just talk about that fucking dark-ass ending. So, as I said, at one point the main characters figure out it's not the Sioux. They have NO idea what it is, but for some reason, they still think it's Natives. Because of that, they split from the soldiers and head out on their own. During this time they encounter a woman who's been poisoned by the burrowers and send this young kid off with her to take her back to the fort. Of course, they encounter some natives and of course, it turns into a fight. Clancy Brown's character dies, so they must not have been able to keep paying him to stay in the movie. The rest escape their fight with the natives and this is when they get into a fight with the Burrowers. It's at this point you find out the burrowers attacked that young kid, ate the girl he was trying to rescue, and poison him too. These creatures poison a character name Parche. This means the Burrowers will now follow him and eat him. At one point while they're fending off the creatures, Parche accidentally shoots this guy named Walnut. Then they discover a Native woman named Faith, who tells them the Utes might be able to cure Parche. Instead of curing Parche, the Utes use him as bait with a little poison of their own to kill the burrowers. During the fight to kill the burrowers, the main character Coffey steps in a bear trap, and the only Ute that knows the cure for the poison gets a bullet to the stomach. They manage to defeat the burrowers but now basically everyone's bleeding out. In order for them to survive, Coffey has to ride to the fort and bring back help. On his way to the fort, he narrowly misses finding the body of the poisoned kid. After that, he finds the soldiers, and when he comes back with them, they've killed Walnut trying to amputate his leg, and hung Faith and the Ute who is the only guy who knows the cure for the burrower's poison. As a final note, the captain of the American soldiers basically says they're now going to use this as an excuse to completely wipe out the Ute.
And that's how the movie ends. The survivors get killed by the American soldiers who basically announce they're going to commit genocide right before the credits roll. But just as an added kick to the balls, they show you the Burrowers eating that poisoned kid that Coffey almost discovered.
Damn, that's dark. Not a bad movie, though.