← Back to Reviews



Antonia Bird

Picked this gem up recently. I had a dim recollection of the film from trailers at release etc. but couldn't remember hearing anything about it good or bad..

Set in 1800's wartime California, A half frozen, half starved man wanders into a fort in the mountains with a horror story of being trapped in a cave with a few others for three months. Apparently they tried to survive off what little nourishment they could find in the cave which only lasted for about a month. He goes on to say that after the food (which included shoes) ran out, they resorted to cannibalism and the survivor barely made it out of the cave without being eaten! He states a crazy colonel has a woman still trapped in the cave and something needs to be done fast. A search party is formed and they are off to save the woman. Soon they come to find not all is as the man said, and things start to get tricky....

This film is an experiment in genre blending. I'd have to say a somewhat successful one at that. By injecting some comic elements into the dialouge and screenplay, the film makers keep the film from taking itself too seriously, and puts the viewer in a state of acceptance for a few of the movies other ideas that aren't very realistic. Some supernatural idealogy is brought into the play that might have seemed way out of place in this otherwise mundane setting, but the comedy elements keep you in a light mood, and ready for anything this bizarre piece serves up. There is some tastey photography and the roles are well played, especially Colonel Ives. I do have a feeling the genre blending is going to make or break this film for many viewers.

Some might find the film to be a directionless mess with no clear cut footing in storytelling. It is not particularly hilarious, scary, or suspenseful. Ravenous is a unique blend of the three distinct genres that takes a few chances in architecture, but I think the rewards far outweigh the failings that some may find. Even the music rides this line, with a slightly corney banjo part that wriggles it's way into some scenes that would otherwise be disturbing and dark.

If I have any complaint, It would be that Guy Pierce is a bit subdued in this role and is outshined by his co-stars, albeit somewhat intentionally. He is sort of a brooding victim of a past trauma (which plays into the story) and he plays up the whole "I am the the brooding guy" trip. It might just be this guys demanor, as he was sort of subdued in Memento as well.