Monday, June 13, 2011

150 Days of Halloween: Ravenous

I have work in the morning, so this will have to be a brief one if I want any chance to try and get some sleep.

Tonight was Ravenous, a period film set during western expansion that falls very comfortably into the Black Comedy realm of horror comedies. This may actually explain why I liked the movie as much as I did. The tone of the film subtly fluctuates between a somber tale of a man trying to live with his own cowardice and shame following his experience in the war, to a borderline slapstick tale of cannibalism and the Wendigo myth. Imagine if Cannibal the Musical were to try for a more serious film, but didn't want to lose all the fun of its comedic tone.
I know it looks like a serious horror movie poster, but its much lighter then it appears.

I know that sounds like it shouldn't work, but it really does. I laughed half the time and quietly considered the implications of the actions on screen in regards to the protagonists inner struggle the other half. Guy Pierce has yet to do a bad job of acting in a movie, and he certainly didn't in this case. The supporting cast did a great job as well, particularly the ever antagonistic Robert Carlyle, whom some may recall as Begbie from Trainspotting. He really owns the role of a man possessed of a need for human flesh, ranging from borderline crazy lunatic to a slick wolf in sheep's clothing.

The story follows Captain Boyd after he manages to take an enemy outpost from behind enemy lines. While this is received as a heroes act, he is shamed to admit to his superiors that it was cowardice that won the day. He hid among the dead to survive, and only after hours of laying beneath a pile of dead, blood dripping down his throat, did he emerge to take the commanding officer by surprise. He is quietly shipped off to the frontier to save face.
"Wait, do I have something on my face?"
When he arrives he is greeted by the various other cast-offs at the edge of the Americas, old timey pot heads, drunks, failed missionaries, and just those with no prospects or drive. Life goes on until a haggard man collapses in camp and tells a grizzly tale of survival and cannibalism in some cave miles away. It's at this point that the movie really finds its voice and pacing, and unsurprisingly, starts to really get good.

So, to keep this short and to keep the surprises intact for you, that's all I'll say in regards to the plot today. Its an interesting movie, and that's why I like it as much as I do. It takes a unique stance on its tone; its period while also having some light mystical undertones with the Wendigo myth. Its somber while it exposes a mans inner demons while a man smokes some weed in the next room. This mixture makes for a genuinely interesting experience that I find I desire from my movies more and more. I want new experiences, stories I haven't heard before and styles I haven't seen before. Its getting to the point that a movie that has problems, but a unique aesthetic, will be super exciting for me to watch. Meanwhile a perfectly made movie that retreads the same old stories and ideas will just bore me.
"Aw, hey buddy, did you fall down and get a boo boo?"
I have always liked the strange movies, or even just the ones that take some chances, I think I am finally starting to understand why. I once saw a movie called The Dark Backward on late night TV, and this movie has stayed with me for years, vivid in my mind for how utterly bizarre it was. Thinking back though, I can't remember nearly any other movies half as well, even the ones I have seen many times. It says a great deal about the staying power of a unique and interesting world, regardless of budget or star power. Give me interesting over mediocrity anytime.

Well, that was a bit of a tangent. Anyway, if you like the darker side of comedies and want to see a movie that blends a few disparate elements together well, then check this one out. I was pleasantly surprised, and I think you might be too. As always, check out the full 150 days of Halloween schedule and links to reviews HERE.


  1. never seen it, would love to give it a watch

  2. never seen this movie before either, I'll give it a try :)
    keep it up!

  3. Isn't that Rush from Stargate Universe? This plot rocks. It's unusual which is good.

  4. you have intrigued me, ill look into it

  5. I'm a big fan of blogs names that start with a Q. That aside great job, followed.

  6. Black Comedy? I'm going to look more into this O_o