Action / Fantasy / Horror / Thriller


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May 25, 2014 at 04:11 AM



Guy Pearce as Capt. John Boyd
Robert Carlyle as Col. Ives / F.W. Colqhoun
Neal McDonough as Pvt. Reich
David Arquette as Pvt. Cleaves
1.45 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 41 min
P/S 6 / 38

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Gafke 10 / 10

A highly entertaining and original blend of horror and black comedy.

Captain John Boyd (Guy Pearce) has just arrived at Fort Spencer, a "reward" of sorts for his display of cowardice during the Spanish-American war. The fort is manned by a drunk, a pothead, a Native American woman and her brother, a goofy young chaplain, a nonchalant Colonel and a half-crazed soldier named Reich. Shortly after Boyd's arrival, a frostbitten man appears one night out of the snowstorm and is taken in. After a quick and miraculous recovery, the man, a Scotsman name of Colqhoun, tells a harrowing tale. He and a party of five others had been stranded in a snow storm and took refuge in a cave. When their food ran out, they turned to cannibalism. Colquhoun claims to have escaped before he too could be eaten. The men of Fort Spencer quickly mobilize and, guided by Colqhoun, they head off to search for survivors. But, too late, they discover that there are no survivors. Colqhoun is a ravenous cannibal, and may possibly be a mythical beast called Wendigo. Only the cowardly Boyd survives the bloody ambush...but will he conquer the cannibal, or join him?

This is a bitterly black comedy, a weird combination of the Donner Party tragedy, the legend of Scottish cannibal Sawney Bean and the 1978 version of Dawn of the Dead with its comments on consumerism. This film did poorly at the box office due to bad advertising, which is a shame because it's a very well made, well acted and well scripted movie with a cleverly insane soundtrack to boot. Everyone delivers quirky, standout performances, especially Robert Carlyle as the cannibal, playing him as an unhinged Charles Manson type one moment and a cultured, elegant gentleman the next. His performance is totally riveting and shockingly funny at times. He's also incredibly good looking, which doesn't hurt either. Any movie that can fit in a shot of Carlyle's naked butt is a film worth watching.

The humor in this movie will not be to everyone's taste (no pun intended). It is still a movie about cannibalism and features some bloody, gross-out gore, so be warned. But, if you have a strong stomach and a sick sense of humor, you won't want to miss this film. 10 stars.

Reviewed by Chancery_Stone 10 / 10

Not only underrated, completely misunderstood

I don't know whether the previous comments on this film show how badly the film was marketed (I never saw any advertising for it) or whether they're a terrible condemnation of just how tunnel-visioned people can be. This is only a horror film in the sense that Macbeth is or The Godfather. It's about the horror of monstrosity, particularly the monstrosity inside ourselves. It's not about cannibalism, nor is it a black comedy. It has those things in it, but they are not it's raison d'etre. It's about the horror of war, conquest, taking things which don't belong to you with the sole justification that that's how you get ahead in life. You have what the other man has literally by consuming it. The hero of this film is branded a coward when really all he's done is preserved himself from the madness going on around him, a fight in which he has no part, just like this one. And yet, I see reviewers here referring to his 'cowardice' as a given. They haven't even got to first base about questioning whether he might not actually be a coward in the first place. It looks like everybody's checked their brains in at the door with this one. I'm glad I never directed this movie, it would be soul-destroying to be this misunderstood. It's a great movie. Savage, brutal,poetic. You watch the whole thing with your mouth hanging open in sheer disbelief. It's a feast for the eyes and ears and has one of the most fey, eerie qualities I've ever seen in a film. It's a masterpiece and I would urge anyone out there who can leave their preconceptions and genre expectations at home to see it. Give yourself a treat - be amazed.

Reviewed by -744 5 / 10

a deliciously savage comedy

Oh man, where do I begin with my inexplicable obsession with this movie? I think part of the reason I love `Ravenous' so much is that it often seems that no one else does; either due to not having seen it, or just not appreciating it. I admit, it's the kind of movie you're going to love or hate, either you get it or you don't. But I can remember seeing it in the theater the first time, and just not being able to believe that I was laughing at what I was laughing at. That's really the best way I can sum up my reaction to this film; there's a certain absurdity underlying all of its themes. It seems like the biggest confusion with people/critics and `Ravenous' is over whether or not it's intent is to be comic. Indeed the comic tone is established from the very beginning, from the opening quotes and first scene. To be sure, it is certainly dark, very very dark comedy, with an interesting mix of `cannibal/vampirism' (see Roger Ebert's review, the only one I've read that does Ravenous justice). However, director Antonia Bird does carry some more serious themes throughout Ravenous, but with a biting satirical edge-- she particularly seems to be commenting on American excessive consumption of all kinds, from meat-eating (and human-flesh eating in this case), to manifest destiny. Most powerful is the truthful notion that we all must "kill to live" in some way or another, and in our willingness or unwillingness to do so, we must differentiate between cowardice and morality. I'm just pounding the dark comedy thing into the ground though because I think that watching Ravenous, it is very important to keep in mind that principally it is supposed to be humorous, and yes, you are supposed to laugh at cannibalism believe it or not, because if you don't, you'll probably just find the film gory and disgusting.

Ravenous is carried by its bold, wacky, charismatic characters. Well, okay, the one exception here is Guy Pearce as central character Captain John Boyd, who is rather subdued in contrast to everyone else, quite intentionally so. Pearce does a very fine job making Boyd very quiet, introspective, and uncomfortable as he is sent to the wonderfully creepy and dysfunctional Fort Spencer, due to his discovered "cowardice" in war. Robert Carlysle is also excellent as the crazy Colqhoun/Ives. I liked the rest of the people at Fort Spencer, all eccentric in their own ways, although all may not last too long. It's nice to see Jeremy Davies as the adorable, religious Toffler, but Neal McDonough is the real stand out as the tough, super-hero like character of Reicht, `the soldier'; with his icy blue eyes and shocking white-blond hair he is the epitome of bravery and masculinity, and certainly forms a direct contrast to the sensitive, cautious, and all-too-human Boyd. Basically, the plot comes to revolve around an old Native American legend--the Wendigo myth–-which states when a man eats another man he takes on his strength and spirit. There are quite a few twists and turns and surprises in Ravenous that should be enough to hold any viewer's attention.

The soundtrack to this film is also quite striking and omnipresent; with original eerily beautiful orchestral tracks that add much of the atmosphere in every situation. Particularly beautiful is the simple, little ‘Boyd's theme', which is used throughout the film as Boyd journeys. The music adds not only to the eerieness of the film, but yes, even the humor. If there is any point at which I still had any kind of doubt about Ravenous being comical it was shattered in a scene where Boyd and Reicht go after the evil Ives, and I hear classic banjo `chase music' complete with yodelling; you just can't help but laugh and shake your head. And even though everyone else already has, I'll give another nod to the cinematography of the gorgeous yet bleak and dangerous icy mountain range.

Ravenous is classic for scenes of such absurd, dark humor in any situation, as when (in the same chase scene) Boyd leaps off a cliff to go tumbling down a hill and crashes into Reicht. Just when a moment is getting serious, it boldly will hit you with such a cartoonish image. Like i said, either you'll love it, or you just won't. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what it is about Ravenous that grabs me so much, but it is just a combination of everything. It's like no movie I've ever seen. It's smart, satirical, observant and insightful (watch for a nice use of Ben Franklin quotes), and yes, funny. While not for everyone, it surely has cult film potential written all over it.

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