Burrowers, The (2008)

The Burrowers (2008)

Evil will surface.

In the Wild West, a posse sets off to find and rescue a family of settlers who were apparently kidnapped by hostile Indians. But as men begin to vanish in the night and strange holes begin appearing around them in the ground, the posse soon realise that their prey is something far more terrifying than Indians.


I’ve seen a string of horror films recently which have been set in the Wild West and I must say that it is a really interesting time period to be setting them in. Gone are the clichés of modern day horror films where characters are all stereotyped teenagers; where mobile phones don’t work; where characters spout off their film knowledge; where they have all of the wonders of 21st century life to help them get through their struggles. Take that away, strip the film down to its basic elements and play up an odd western cliché or two and you’ve got the ground work for original horror films where creativity is the key because you can’t rely on technology to save you. The Burrowers comes hot on the heels of Undead or Alive and Copperhead, two other Wild West horror films in which the basic elements are the same as countless other modern era horror films, only with the novelty value of setting it somewhere historically remote, desolate and as wild and savage as the monsters you’re fighting.

That’s not to say The Burrowers is a good film. Far from it – the best I can say is that it had potential but it just didn’t live up to it one bit. It’s very slow-paced but I got the feeling that was deliberate on the part of the director. It’s a good forty-five minutes before anything really exciting happens and the odd Burrower attack is peppered through the middle of the film which promises a great finale but fails to deliver. I think the director was going for a slightly more dramatic affair with lots of paranoia and eerie goings on but it just doesn’t work as well as it should.

The Western setting is nailed down a tee though with some spot-on cinematography. The characters are all well-rounded and, dare I say it, likeable. You don’t want any of them to get harmed because they all get a chance to develop. It’s always great to see a stalwart like Clancy Brown in something like this too! The film definitely plays to its strengths which is the mood and atmosphere. As I’ve already touched upon in my opening, the Wild West was a remote, savage place so when the posse end up in the middle of nowhere, you know that is just where they are – no small towns hiding around the mountains, no police station nearby or no cabin to shelter in. This feeling of isolation is played up in the film a lot as the characters know they’re on their own and need to stick together.

However twists and turns along the way mean that is not possible. Some of the night scenes where the Burrowers are scurrying around in the grass around the camp are pretty tense affairs. The only light is coming from the fire so it’s impossible to see too far. You just hear them brushing past the grass. The Burrowers themselves don’t appear a lot. It’s good because they look rather rubbish when they do appear in their CGI form. The actual latex suits used in some scenes look far more convincing, especially in a dimly lit environment. But they work better as unseen assailants anyway, crawling out from their ground holes to poison and paralyse victims before burying them in the ground alive and coming back to eat them later on when they’ve turned all squishy inside! A lot of real life animals and insects use this method to eat their prey but it just sounds a lot harsher when its human beings involved.

There aren’t too many bloody scenes of people getting their insides sucked out but there is one great scene where you see one unlucky victim get poisoned, paralysed, buried alive and then feasted upon later in the film. They are definitely a unique creation and this film needed more Burrower action! Again though I think any more of the monster action would have overdone it.


The Burrowers is a decent monster flick which sacrifices cheap scares and gore for a slow-burner pace and lots of excellent atmosphere and tension. Whether you’re in the mood for something more sophisticated than your usual teen horror will depend on your enjoyment. Everyone who keeps up-to-date with horror films should at least check it out. You won’t be overly disappointed.





Post a comment