31 Days of Horror: “Ravenous” (1999)



Title: Ravenous [Blu-ray]
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Posted October 2, 2016 by

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I have been meaning to write a review, on “Ravenous”, for quite some time. Not only because it would give me an excuse to re-watch one of my favorite horror films of the 90s, but also because “Ravenous” is a tragically underrated film, that I have recommended to countless people, over the years. Totally unappreciated, in it’s time, it is one of a small handful of horror/western mashups that actually works. And, it works really, really well.

Guy Pearce plays the cowardly Capt. John Boyd who, after being hailed as a war hero, was discovered to have hidden in fear as his whole battalion was slaughtered. For his punishment, he is banished to Fort Spencer; an isolated outpost in the harsh, unforgiving Sierra Nevadas. Boyd is haunted by nightmares of his actions, and has a hard time feeling at ease, in his new confines. Even with all of the soldiers stationed there being somewhat strange themselves, and being resigned to their bleak existence, Boyd is ever the outsider and keeps mostly to himself.

ravenous-2One night, a starved stranger, suffering from hypothermia, is discovered, outside of the fort. His name is Colqhoun (Carlyle), and he tells a horrifying tale of the group of travelers he was with being brutally murdered and eaten, by a madman named Colonel Ives. Fort Commander Colonel Hart immediately puts together a search and rescue team, to go fins any other survivors. Some of the fort’s Indian guides and Colqhoun himself warn them that legend has it that, if a man eats the flesh of another man, he absorbs his strength and hungers for more human flesh. Nevertheless, the group head out into the snowy mountains, not realizing that Colqhoun isn’t telling them the entire story.

Director Antonia Bird and writer Ted Griffin do an excellent job, at blending elements of horror, drama, and even some comedy here and there (which adds to the whole creepy factor). Pearce and Carlyle are brilliant and the supporting cast (including the fort itself) are all effectively and eerily off-putting. “Ravenous” works atmospherically and dramatically, on the backs of these fine performances, and one of the better scores of any 90s movie I can recall.  Like I said… this film is criminally underappreciated, and one that any fan of horror, thriller, or even black comedies will enjoy.




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