• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

The Burrowers

TITLE: The Burrowers

YEAR: 2009   

GENRE: Horror and Western

One of my biggest gripes about the Hollywood machine is the fact that horror movies are not very creative. Between the mostly sub-par remakes and re-imaging of classic films coming out of the Hollywood machine and the use of gore and splatter over story and atmosphere, most of what Hollywood has offered us in the last ten years in scary movies had been a mostly boring offering. Thank goodness for the independent and foreign film circuit, who in the last several years has given us gems such as May, American Psycho and Dead Snow. These films all took a unique approach to fairly standard genres within horror (the slasher film, zombies etc.) and gave them their own twist as well as adding a few surprises. You can add The Burrowers to this list, as this is a creative, well written, and fairly effective horror offering.

This film is based on the wild western frontier of the late 1800’s. A couple frontier families are attacked by an unknown force: the men are systematically slaughtered and the women and children mysteriously disappear. A group of cowboys venture out into unchartered western territory to search for the perpetrators, which are assumed to be local Indian tribes. A few captured Native Americans and subsequent tortures later, the cowboys learn of the legend of “the burrowers”, nocturnal creatures who attack at night to find prey, bury them, and drain them of fluids later after they have “softened” up. The cowboys assume the story to be a myth about another tribe, but the cowboys later discover there is truth in the legend and discover that they are being hunted by the subterranean creatures of the night.

There are several aspects of this film the raises it above the average horror fare. First of all the setting is quite creative, giving the film a historical aspect instead of the usual modern day suburbia of most scary fare. I also liked the fact that a couple of the cowboys were African-Americans, which is historically correct compared to most all-white westerns as many former slaves found the wild west to be one of the few places where they were judged by their abilities rather than color. Second, the script is quite good and centers attention more on the character and story development rather than how many topless teenagers can we slaughter. The story develops at a natural pace, and The Burrowers does not feel forced at all. Third, there are a few subtle yet effective themes in the film such as Indian rights (the way any Native American in this film is treated is quite abhorrent) and man’s impact on the environment (the cowboys discover that the reason “the burrowers” are hunting humans is because of the almost extinction of the buffalo that “the burrowers” once hunted, and now the creatures have to eat alternative food). In addition, the blood effects are pretty good, the monsters are much better looking than the average low budget film, and the acting is great (Sean Patrick Thomas and Clancy Brown are especially good). The ending may throw off some horror fans who want something less subdued, but the conclusion is quite dreadful when one considers the historical timing of the film.

Writer/director J.T. Petty (Mimic: Sentinel and several Batman-oriented video games) has done a great job creating a western/horror outing that gives due justice to both genres. It amazes me that I have heard virtually nothing about this film with the amount of horror and comic book conventions our poster business attends before seeing it recommended to me by Netflix, as I found this to be one of the very best B-movie horror outings released in a long time. Horror fans should give The Burrowers a fair chance and they may discover a new gem to add to their collection. I tip my ten-gallon hat to this offering.

* * * * 1/2

–Mark

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