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Ravenous (1999) – Movie Review

Ravenous poster

Written by: Ted Griffin
Directed by: Antonia Bird
Starring: Guy Pearce, Robert Carlyle, Jeffrey Jones, David Arquette, Jeremy Davies

My Advice: Wait for cable.

It’s 1847, and Captain Boyd (Pearce) has just been promoted and awarded due to an act of cowardice he performed on the field of battle. Part of his award is to be relegated to a fort in the middle of Nowhere. Rather than sit around and do nothing, Boyd finds a mysterious stranger (Carlyle) near death, who tells a story of atrocities committed during a trek through the mountains.

The saddest part of this film is it that it’s, year to date, the best horror film I’ve seen. It takes what is a premise with some promise–cannibalism–and manages to take it absolutely nowhere. The opening half of the film is enough to draw you in with its cast of bizarre characters at the fort. Robert Carlyle, who incidentally is the only reason to see this movie at all, delivers his story (and the rest of his performance) with studied manic creepiness. However, shortly thereafter the whole film goes straight to hell, and I wish I could tell you why–but it’s the only excuse for a plot twist the thing has. Pearce is wasted, Jeffrey Jones is miscast, and David Arquette is given absolutely nothing to do.

[ad#longpost]It’s the script that is lacking first and foremost. For example, nifty fleeting references comparing cannibalism to the Christian communion and also to American consumerism are just that–fleeting. Also–the tone of the film is wrong. The beginning consists of a quote from Nietzsche about monsters and a quote from Anonymous: “Eat me.” Silly me, I thought there were going to be comedic elements in the film after that and the opening steak dinner sequence, but instead we went into the half-baked horror full-speed. Top this off with it being feeling much longer than an hour-forty and a musical score where half of it was performed on a Casio keyboard, and there you have it. The only commendable thing about this film is it showed we’re in for a treat when Carlyle takes on James Bond in the next 007 film.

It’ll be on cable soon enough–wait for it and you’ll thank me.

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  • Joe: You really need to work on your reading comprehension skills, my friend. What I actually said was, “The saddest part of this film is that it’s, year to date, the best horror film I’ve seen.” NOT that it was the best horror film I’ve seen. But, you know, thanks for playing.