Last Watch Date - June 21, 2023
Total Times Watched - Once
I had definitely heard of this movie before and I initially thought I had watched it at some point. However upon watching this today, I realized I have NOT seen it before. And maybe I shouldn't have. This movie is marked as horror, but is it? There are obvious aspects of it that are horror, but I am genuinely confused as to what this movie wanted to play itself as. It has moments of visual horror combined with music that can only be described as whimsical. Which makes you think it's a black comedy horror. But it's not really funny at all. It's set in the general "West" and costumes go along with that, but nothing really feels Western about it. Oh, and then there's a social commentary part at the end that feels like it wants you to say "we're serious" but it comes across like Gob and his magicians.
The cast in this movie is really good, but because of that I expected it to be better. You'll see familiar faces in Jeffrey Jones, David Arquette, Robert Carlyle, Guy Pearce, and Jeremy Davies. Maybe you don't know them all by NAME, but you'd know their faces. Jeffrey Jones is probably best known for some of his goofier roles. Same with David Arquette. So .. it's a comedy right? But Guy Pearce and Robert Carlyle are definitely not comedic actors. So .. drama? I'm still annoyed at this. PICK A LANE, MOVIE.
The story has an interesting twist on the Wendigo thing that you've definitely seen in multiple horror movies before, including the movie Wendigo from 2001 (don't watch it, it's bad). This movie is like a mix of Cannibal: The Musical and some sort of Zombie movie. The more you eat, the more you CRAVE! But also the more of a soulless flesh-eating demon thing you become. The only way out? DEATH. But then they mixed in this analogy for Manifest Destiny. The constant craving and death will ruin everyone at the expense of your own indulgences. JUST LIKE MANIFEST DESTINY. DO YOU GET IT? Man, 1800s USA is such a bad country! To be clear, I am not saying it's a great thing that the US expanded and destroyed a bunch of native people. But the analogy itself felt forced and nothing really worked in this movie.
All that said, there are decent parts of the movie. There is a "whodunnit" sort of thing going in within the movie and there are some nice "I'm not crazy, you're crazy" pieces mixed in. But for whatever reason, they couldn't make it gel. It's such a weird movie. It has tons of potential, yet somehow sucks. The music really does it a huge disservice and reminds you of how important it is to a great movie. Or even a total lack of music like No Country for Old Men. God that movie's great. I should rewatch that..
You already know the answer to this. No. I can't believe Ebert gave this 3 out of 4.