1879. The Dakota Territories. A young Irishman comes across a gruesome scene: A family slaughtered. Another family missing. The young man, named Coffey, assembles a rag-tag crew to find his missing fiancee. It is race against time and character development. Really, this movie was a big disappointment. The director, JT Petty, has a great concept. A species, unknown to the white man, that poisons its prey, rendering it paralyzed but awake. Said prey (the fiancee and anyone else unfortunate enough to cross its path) is then buried and allowed to rot, so that the "blood becomes thick and the organs soft." Prey is then eaten: alive! How could you go wrong? And its a Western! A Western/monster/horror hybrid! But wrong it goes. The main problem is with the characters. I just didn't care about them. The bad guy wasn't bad enough, I wanted the good guy to get eaten, and the others (including Clancy Brown and William Mapother, two genre favorites) are wasted. Petty takes a Jaws/Descent attitude to the Monster itself. You see bits and pieces of it, but never the whole thing until the end. And they look like giant sperm with grasshopper legs. Throw in a quasi-environmental message, and you lost me. 3 things I liked about this film: #1: the line "There is something scratching inside her." #2 Doug Hutchison, whom I loved since he played Tooms in X-files, plays a bad-ass. #3 Serious and unexpected head-trauma about 1/2 way through. I mean "Irreversible" level head trauma.
So to summarize, great concept, so-so execution, but bravo for bringing back the Western/monster/horror film! And Thank You, JT Petty, for casting Dough Hutchison. He needs to be in more movies. He is great and he looks like my friend Steve. Also, shame on you for killing not one but two horses (in the film, I am sure you would never hurt a real horse,) but Thank You for letting Tom Cruise's cousin be eaten alive.