MAY THE LORD HAVE MERCY AND GRANT YOU A SWIFT DEATH.
When Arthur O’Dwyer’s (Patrick Wilson) wife is kidnapped by a cannibalistic tribe, he joins sheriff Franklin Hunt (Kurt Russell) and a few other men on a search party, even though he has a broken leg. S. Craig Zahler’s feature debut is a horror-Western that should remind audiences a little bit of The Hills Have Eyes (1977). Surprisingly entertaining, the film takes its time, creates interest in the characters and a lot of tension as the men get closer to the scary cave dwellers. The violence is absurdly grotesque at times, but the movie never loses its sense of humor. A great cast, with a solid Russell as the sheriff and Richard Jenkins in a role reminiscent of the kind of curmudgeons Walter Brennan used to play in Westerns.
2015-U.S. 132 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Jack Heller, Dallas Sonnier. Written and directed by S. Craig Zahler. Cast: Kurt Russell (Franklin Hunt), Patrick Wilson (Arthur O’Dwyer), Matthew Fox (John Brooder), Richard Jenkins, Lili Simmons, David Arquette… Sean Young.
Trivia: At various points, Jim Broadbent, Peter Sarsgaard and Timothy Olyphant were allegedly considered for roles.
Last word: “I prefer writing westerns over horror, and [Sonnier and my agent] asked if I could do [my novel] ‘Wraiths of a Broken Land’ as a low budget movie. For me, taking something that’s ninety thousand words or so and crushing it into the length of a movie wouldn’t be that creatively fulfilling, in that I would have to strip away so much stuff that even a great movie version of it would always feel smaller than the book. So I said, ‘Instead of that, let me write another rescue mission western, but I’d like to play with some different stuff – in particular, making up my own tribe,’ And that comes a little bit more from the disciplines of lost race fiction, like H. Rider Haggard kind of stuff, really, than from westerns.” (Zahler, Deadline)