Another Monday, another blog collab! Check out Christa’s review here!
Where to Watch:
CANNIBALISM. Nineteenth-century California. I have nothing else to add; you’re either into it or you aren’t.
The Uncondensed Version:
So Guy Pearce is getting a medal for his brave service in the Mexican-American War and attending a nice dinner with a bunch of military dudes. Basically, it’s good to be Guy Pearce…for about 3 minutes. He’s really grossed out by everyone’s eating sounds/the bloody steak, which is giving him really bad war flashbacks. When he goes outside and throws up, I guess it’s the last straw for the general (or whatever his rank is?) because he suddenly decides Guy is heading to a remote fort in California.
When he gets to the fort, Guy realizes this is essentially high school; we’ve got the leader, the religious dude, the drunk guy, the extreme army man, the quiet one, and the stoners.
Their delicate social hierarchy is thrown into chaos with the arrival of a severely injured Robert Carlyle (so you KNOW shit’s about to go down). It’s going to be battle of the beards b/c extravagant facial hair was a legal requirement for all serious-minded 19th-century dudes. Not sure what this says about me at the moment, but I kinda dig that every dude in this move seems to be going for the Jesus look.
RC tells his sad story, which is essentially a condensed version of the Donner Party. After they got stuck in a cave, the pioneers all started to eat each other. RC started to feel stronger and in general manlier after consuming human flesh, but he also developed an intense craving for it. George, the Native American guy who likes to get high with David Arquette (seriously), warns everyone about wendigos, but no one is particularly concerned.
Most of the men at the fort form a search party because when RC ditched his group, he left the only lady alone with the insane captain who led them down the path of cannibalism. Perhaps unsurprisingly, shit goes down almost immediately. One of the men falls halfway down the mountain they’re scaling, and all the other dudes secretly breathe a sigh of relief b/c least competent member of the group has already been decided. The injured guy wakes up in the night to find RC licking his wound (not a euphemism), so RC asks the others to tie him up. He starts freaking out as the group approaches the cave, and Guy + super soldier go in to investigate.
Pretty quickly, they realize this is a trap; there are 5 skeletons hanging in the cave, making RC the only survivor in their party of 6…aka the MURDERER/CANNIBAL/WENDIGO.
At the moment of their realization, RC digs up a knife he’s buried in the woods and kills everyone in the group to a very lively bluegrass song. Well, everyone except Guy Pearce. Guy shoots him, but RC is pretty much immune to death. To escape, Guy jumps off a cliff and rolls with the dead super soldier, who comes back to life and tries to kill Guy. Bonus points for this unexpectedly becoming a zombie movie.
Guy eventually makes his way back to the fort, where the military higher-ups don’t believe his story. Since the colonel is dead, the fort is in need of leadership in the form of…Robert Carlyle. Of course. He makes Guy look extra crazy by “proving” he’s not the same man as he is totally free of injury.
When Guy confronts him, RC tries to get him to come over to the dark side. This might be Interview with the Vampire minus Kirsten Dunst?
Somebody else turns up dead, and Guy, who already seems suspicious, is locked up in preparation for a military prison. Also the colonel is alive again b/c he’s a wendigo now. He and RC convince Guy to eat human flesh stew in order to stay alive.
Shortly thereafter, the colonel starts losing it. He lets Guy go, and in exchange, Guy puts him out of his misery.
Then Guy goes after RC while wearing a really comfortable looking sweater.
Three possibilities here: one dies, both die, neither dies. Mostly because I can’t think of an interesting way to describe the extended fight scene that is also rife with sexual tension, I’m going to leave you with that.
Also because I’m on a power trip.
I don’t know, I suppose what I really wanted of this movie was more cannibalism. Is that a strange criticism? I don’t care; IT’S VALID. It wasn’t quite as creepy as I wanted it to be, but that’s really the eternal problem, right? Also I wanted Guy Pearce to have less of a moral compass. I don’t understand how killing people AND hanging out with Robert Carlyle could be anything but a win-win situation.
However, I did really appreciate all shots of Guy Pearce looking like a moody Jesus (and there were A LOT).
I’m not sure I totally understood this movie, but it gets a star for cannibalism, Guy Pearce, and Robert Carlyle, respectively.