This Day in Horror

01 November 2016

Ravenous 1999 - REVIEW by Jay Pendlebury



Sometimes I watch a movie and wonder how it never received more acclaim at it's time of release. As genre fans we tend to find more gems well after the release dates. We discover these movies through word of mouth or websites like this. The horror community is always eager to share their discoveries amongst each other. We take pride in creating cult classics well after their run on the big screen is over, no matter how brief that time may have been. Obviously because of technology and social media, this has become a much easier achievement. Keep searching my fellow horror junkies, many films slipped through the cracks and remain undiscovered or underappreciated. One of these underappreciated films is Ravenous.

Ravenous is the story of a disgraced war hero, Captain Boyd. Boyd (Guy Pearce) is sent to join some other military misfits at a remote post, along a pilgrimage trail. They save the life of a man wandering in the cold wilderness (Robert Carlyle) and he regales them with his tale of how he got there and what he had to do to get there. This is the point when I knew I had found something special, Carlyle's monologue is chilling and expertly delivered. It sets the tone for the rest of the movie which fails to disappoint. I hesitate to give away much more but needless to say, cannibalism and man's inner battles are the main themes of the film

I think the main reason Ravenous was and possibly still is underappreciated is it could be mistaken for a mainstream film with a quick glance at the film's poster or cover. The cast of Guy Pearce and Robert Carlyle was perhaps misleading to genre fans. Throw in David Arquette and the often recognized face but rarely recognized name of Jeffrey Jones and it may become a tough sell for some horror fans. Remember this is before 28 Weeks Later and after The Full Monty. Carlyle was maybe pigeonholed in our minds as comedic and not horror worthy. I guarantee this was also misleading for fans of mainstream film at the time. I would believe this title was rented from Blockbuster and returned only partially watched by more than a few people in the early 2000's.

With some truly mesmerizing scenes that increase the heart rate, an equally fantastic score and some great performances, Ravenous is beautifully done. Splash in some dark humour and amazing outdoor shots and it garners repeated watches. I have friends who aren't big horror fans who loved this film and are still terrified by it. I also have some very seasoned horror friends who aren't shy to place this in their top five horror favorites. Go give it a watch, tell me what you think and remember.....you are who you eat.

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