Ravenous (1999)   2 comments

ravpost

After serving in the Mexican-American War, disgraced Captain John Boyd (Guy Pearce) is exiled to the backwater post of Fort Spencer in the Sierra Nevadas.  Soon after, a man stumbles into camp saying he came from a lost wagon train.  F.W. Colqhoun (Robert Carlyle) claims the leader of his group, Colonel Ives led the pioneers to a so-called shortcut through the mountains where they got lost and quickly ran out of food.  Colqhoun recounts that Ives then convinced the party to eat each other.  “The day that Jones died I was out collecting wood, and when I returned the others were cooking his legs for dinner.”

steak
Bon appetit!

Upon hearing that there might still be survivors at Colqhoun’s camp, the small contingent from Fort Spencer set out to rescue them from the wicked Colonel Ives.  As they explore the pioneers’ digs, the men realize they’re up against a lot more than an unbalanced man.

carlyleeat
“You don’t like it?  Fine.  All the more for me.”

Antonia Bird (FACE) took over as director of RAVENOUS after shooting began on the recommendation of Robert Carlyle.  She does a great job of keeping up the tension.  The story, written by Ted Griffin (MATCHSTICK MEN) keeps you guessing and the performances by Guy Pearce, John Spencer, Jeffrey Jones, Jeremy Davies, and especially Neal McDonough and the utterly wonderful Robert Carlyle make the film fly by.  The script, full of dark humor and references to cannibalism and the Wendigo legend is witty and dry and the cast is well up to it.  The Wendigo, by the way, is a part man/part monster legend of the Algonquian people who say that once a man has eaten human flesh, he absorbs the strengths of those he’s eaten.  Of course, now he’s evil and is consumed (See what I did there?) with finding more men to eat.  Nummy.

aaaaaaa
You can’t eat just one!

RAVENOUS was a neat black comedy which dipped into one of my favorite historic tales.  I’ll watch pretty much anything about the Donner Party and the shortcut referred to in Colqhoun’s story sounds a lot like Hastings Cutoff to me.  An unpredictable story, terrific acting, sharp direction, and a creepy Morricone-ish score by Damon Albarn and Michael Nyman all work to make RAVENOUS a wonderful watch.  I can’t believe it took me so long to see it.

aaaamc
“Alas, poor…oh jeez.”

haunty

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2 responses to “Ravenous (1999)

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  1. RAVENOUS is tremendous. Glad you got around to seeing it. One of my favorite recent horror films… and yes, apparently I could 16 years old as recent. 🙂

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