Films & Schedules

  • The Burrowers

  • JT Petty

96 minutes

Production Company:
Blue Star Pictures
Executive Producer:
Peter Block, John Sacchi
William Sherak, Jason Shuman
JT Petty
Production Designer:
Mark Alan Duran
Phil Parmet
Andy Grieve, Robb Sullivan
Tom Bjelic, Mark Gingras, Allan Fung
Joseph LoDuca
Principal Cast: William Mapother, Karl Geary, Doug Hutchison, Sean Patrick Thomas, Laura Leighton, Clancy Brown

Canadian Distributor:
Maple Pictures
US Distributor:
Lionsgate Films
International Sales Agent:
Mandate International

Tuesday September 0911:59PM RYERSON Best Bet Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
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It is 1879. Coffey (Karl Geary), a young Irishman settled on the plains of Dakota, is about to ask his sweetheart to marry him. His dream of wedded bliss is shattered, however, when something or someone attacks the young lady's family farm, kidnapping the women and children and slaughtering the men. Coffey joins a group of local ranchers and cavalrymen in search of the victims, who are assumed to be prisoners of a fierce band of natives.

Put off by the sadistic and single-minded tactics of self-appointed group leader Henry Victor (Doug Hutchison), Coffey sets out with a couple of ranchers (William Mapother and Highlander's Clancy Brown), as well as a teenaged boy and a freed slave (Sean Patrick Thomas). They soon discover mysterious holes in the ground and a catatonic girl buried in the dirt, suggesting that they may not be hunting an ordinary tribe. A sinister enemy seems to be stalking them from below the serene grassy plains of the vast new frontier.

Director JT Petty sustains a level of dread and foreboding as his blend of Western grit and unnerving horror unfolds across the isolated and expansive Dakota Territory. The Burrowers is a creature feature within the context of a true Western – in fact, it is ostensibly a terror take on John Ford's The Searchers. A profound juxtaposition is forged between the horrific actions of mankind and the mounting horror of what our hero and his posse are about to discover. Cinematographer Phil Parmet, who also shot The Devil's Rejects, evokes an eerie atmosphere in the dusty landscape, and glimpses of pale, slashed skin and festering wounds are made more terrifying by the accompanying, uncanny sound of churning earth.

Petty's previous film, S&MAN, was a much-praised entry in the 2006 Midnight Madness lineup, and despite being denied a proper DVD release, it has become a highly sought-after item in horror circles. The Burrowers, which is Petty's fourth film and third narrative feature, is an accomplished work that further confirms his talent.

Colin Geddes

JT Petty is a writer and director who has created films, video games, books and graphic novels. He is one of the creators of the popular video game “Splinter Cell,” as well as the writer and director of the video game adaptation for the film Batman Begins (05). His films include Soft for Digging (01), Mimic: Sentinel (03), S&MAN (06) and The Burrowers (08).

Cadillac People's Choice Award