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I saw JT Petty’s The Burrowers at Fantastic Fest last year and was really impressed with the film he had made. While describing it as Tremors meets The Searchers might get across the basic concept to you, I don’t think it gives you the tone. Petty’s film is big and beautiful, filled with lingering shots of landscapes and as much about the people who live on that land as the monsters that live beneath it. In a lot of ways it felt like what Terrence Malick might have come up with if he had merged Days of Heaven and Tremors.
Unfortunately, you’re probably not going to get a chance to see this film on the big screen. The Burrowers is going straight to DVD on April 21st. I think it’s honestly a crime, especially since you don’t get many movies in theaters these days where Clancy Brown and Willam Mapother battle creepy monsters from the dirt.
But if you want to get in the mood for The Burrowers, here’s a short film prequel that Petty shot called Blood Red Earth. There’s a lot of talk about Native Americans in the movie – the initial attack by the Burrowers is thought to be an Indian raid, and the way the white man abuses the Indian is given plenty of attention in Petty’s surprisingly cerebral film, but Blood Red Earth brings you the story of a Lakota tribe that comes up against these vicious plains-dwelling beasts. It’s pretty great stuff, and hopefully it will also be on the DVD of The Burrowers - which you should pre-order from CHUD by clicking here – but in the meantime, here’s the streaming web version to whet your appetite.
Behind every great book adaptation is a forgettable first try. — By Ryan Covey