Ravenous (1999)

Salutations my screechers, screamers, and scary dreamers,

Tonight’s tale of terror entitled “Ravenous” concerns a cowardly captain’s disgraceful demotion to the deserted frontier of Fort Spencer in the snowy Sierra Nevadas.  News of nasty cannibals comes by way of a weary wanderer.  The soldiers’ search for survivors sets them on a collision course with a wily wendigo.

The opening quotes quickly make it known that this film is going for a different tone so one can tell right away a strange ride is ahead full of lots of dark humor and a feeling of dread.  This movie really excels when it comes to the story it tells and it ends up being smarter than it seems by tackling horrifically dour themes.  Throughout the story is peppered with drama, horror, comedy and myth so while some might call this a genre bender but I find it more akin to a genre blender.

Given all of the genres this picture combines it is impressive that the acting manages to shine.  Our lesser players could have simply been prey but luckily they went out of their way to create subtle personality ticks so that even their small performances transfix.  Though our hero is conflicted about his cowardly behavior he soon finds himself to be an unwilling savior and has to resist selling his soul as the wendigo attempts to devour him whole.  Of special note is our villain who is obviously having a blast as he chews his way through the scenery and most of the cast. 

At the time of release many critics praised the score, but please indulge me now as I add seventy four words more.  The opening quotes may make the tone clear but the soundtrack further enhances the atmosphere by eliciting just the right amount of unease before breaking into a banjo solo that seems destined to please.  To further show off the composer’s aplomb the final fight ends in a western sounding psalm further proving that the music is one of the film’s greatest assets as they match each other note for note with their many facets.

Story/Concept: 2
Direction/Style: 2
Scares: 0
Atmosphere: 2
Rewatchability: 2
Nightshade’s Notions (extra credit): 1
TOTAL: 9/10 

In summation, my readers more prone to getting queasy might find that the gore makes them uneasy but those who want something different are in for a real treat so sit down, get comfortable, and bon appetit.

Stick to the shadows my fine friends.

Sincerely,
Mr. William Nightshade