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Ravenous (Widescreen)

Guy Pearce , Robert Carlyle , Antonia Bird    R (Restricted)   DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 16.95
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When was the last time you saw a new movie set during the 1840s? The era is the first oddball thing about Ravenous, though by no means the last. This provocatively weird movie is essentially a vampire film crossed with the Donner party, that unfortunate band of hungry pioneers who got stuck in the wilderness with only themselves to eat. The setting here is Fort Spencer, a dismal collection of shacks huddled in the snows of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Mid-winter, a nearly dead Scotsman (Robert Carlyle, from The Full Monty) staggers into camp with a story of desperate cannibalism. The skeleton crew (so to speak) manning the fort sets out to investigate, when... ah, but the twists and turns of this dark yarn should remain shocking. Be assured, however, that the cannibalism has just begun; this movie has cannibalism like Titanic had an iceberg. Director Antonia Bird (Mad Love, Priest) blends some humor into this scenario, especially in the final reels, but otherwise this is a fairly serious gore picture; a confused Twentieth Century Fox tried to market it as a black comedy, and the movie flopped anyway. It deserves a better fate--at the very least, it's not quite like anything else out there. The music, a brilliant collaboration between Michael Nyman (The Piano) and Blur's Damon Albarn, is an offbeat blend of period twang and modern drone. Carlyle and Guy Pearce (of L.A. Confidential) are fascinating in the lead roles--their sunken faces would look at home in Civil War photographs--and the eccentric supporting cast, including Jeremy Davies and David Arquette, adds flavor to the dish. --Robert Horton

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best movies of the 1990s April 6 2003
By ewomack
This is going to sound strange, but "Ravenous" is a very intelligent movie about cannibals, vampirism (of an unusual sort) and the history of the west. At it's heart is a metaphor about power, exploitation, and ravenous greed. It is much more than simply a thriller, horror, slasher picture.
It is set during the time of westward expansion in the youthful United States, which is significant for discovering what the movie is all about. This movie wouldn't make sense in 20th century Manhattan, or in 1930s Chicago. It is set during a time when european settlers still had a long way to go towards 'conquering' most of North America.
Without giving too much away of the bizarre and twisted plot, the movie explores not only cannibalism, but cannibalism as a means of regaining life, energy, or power. You eat another, you take the life energy of that person. This notion of cannabalism (which is more along the lines of mythology than of a slasher movie) allows the movie to be completely unpredictable, disturbing and poignant all at once. At the end of the movie, one realizes that it would've been almost impossible to have guessed what was going to happen at each plot turn. If you enjoy bizarre, almost surreal surprises, this movie is packed with them.
The crucial moment in the film is towards the end when Robert Carlyle's character is rhapsodizing about "manifest destiny." Here it is revealed that what's behind the ravenous hunger depicted in the film is a statement about how the west was won, and perhaps still being won. There's a lot in this film to chew on (it's impossible to avoid stupid puns when writing about movies in which people are eaten, sorry), and "Ravenous" does not belong in the same category as B-slashers or gore or shock flicks.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You Are Who You Eat Dec 6 2003
By Welt
Ravenous... what an underrated, under-appreciated, unknown masterwork of a horror film. Peppered with great performances by Guy Pearce and Robert Carlyle. Seasoned with a quirky yet haunting soundtrack. Spiced with ultra-violence. And topped off with some very entrancing cinematography. It's too bad this film did so poorly at the box-office. Seems to me, this film is too intelligent for the mainstream anyway. Most little babies on here couldn't even stomach the violence/gore. And because of that, they dismissed the movie all together. Morons.
Ravenous was one of the reasons the 90's weren't completely void of decent horror films. Just gets cooler with every viewing.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Thinking Person's Movie about Cannibalism May 17 2000
Format:VHS Tape
The story really gets started at a fort in the Sierra Nevada's when a near dead stranger arrives at the fort and tells a tale that sounds very similar to the real story of the Donner party. But then things get much weirder! Don't eat that stew! This movie draws in religious references to Christianity, American Manifest Destiny, and Native American folklore, to create an intellectually and mythologically stimulating brew for the culturally receptive mind.
The humor takes the edge off the horror, and the horror takes the edge off of the humor, in a brilliant balance that leaves this movie defying categorization. It remains far too serious to be called dark comedy, but it still has its fair share of humor. Some of the more intense moments in the movie gain an erie and otherworldly tone when juxtaposed against some of the maniacally joyful music that accompanies those moments. The acting proves brilliant! And the dynamics between Robert Carlyle and Guy Pierce, hit a compelling range, from curious interest, to hatred and disgust, and even reaching the depths of thinly veiled homoerotic situational innuendo. The rest of the acting was great, but this amazing duo truly left the most memorable impression.
I think the unfavorable reviews offered by some of the "professional critics" more reflects their inability to handle this topic at all, than any shortcomings of the movie itself. If you think you may be a little sensitive about the topic of cannibalism, you have been warned. I really don't think that any of the gruesomeness was gratuitous, and certainly the movie could have been a LOT more gory than it was. You simply can't pretend to discuss cannibalism without gruesomeness. To do otherwise would have been a Pollyanna whitewash job.
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5.0 out of 5 stars surprising Dec 23 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
i enjoyed the product a lot... pretty much like it was advised and even more... i can say im satisfied
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent movie May 24 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
One of my favourite movies. 5 stars all the way. If you're into cannibalism then this movie is for you!
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4.0 out of 5 stars refer to "painfully boring" review May 21 2004
The reviewer of this film, who calls it "painfully boring" simply typifies many american viewers. his review in its simplicity should be taken with the proverbial grain of salt.
...if you're the type who has a short attention span; the reviewer is correct. all others will enjoy this rather off-beat horror/action and dark comedy.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not For Every, uh, Taste May 16 2004
By J
There is some polarized debate as to both the quality and the genre of this movie. The movie is good and enjoyable but its not THAT good. A star studded cast and fairly low production value support a one joke black-comedy. Used to be that cult classics became such over time as they garnered a small but loyal fanbase to thier particular oddity. The makers of Ravenous are trying to make a cult classic right out of the gate. As if Cult Classic is its own legimate film category. (which it isn't) That this is a black comedy and not serious drama is so overtly stated and repetively reinforced, it is hard to understand why some reviewers take this movie so seriously. From the very beginning, the simplist act of sustenance is treated as an act of barbarity and brutality. Even the breaking of a walnut is handled in this way. The walnut isnt just cracked open, it is smashed to little bits. From beginning to end the movie pours on the cannibal and food jokes. If this is serious drama, someone forgot to tell the scriptwriter, the director and all of the actors.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Stupid Scary
Labeled by some reviewers as a dark comedy and a cannibal gore-fest... I choose neither. Sure, there was plenty of fake blood going on, but nothing over the top as far as the... Read more
Published on May 14 2004 by R. Gorham
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovin' it...
I really loved this movie because it lays out a very serious subject and a very serious time. (The Civi War or something... Read more
Published on May 6 2004 by BMW
1.0 out of 5 stars Painfully Boring
You people must be nuts! 4 stars for this steaming pile?
This is a surprisingly boring and empty film. Read more
Published on April 1 2004 by SandmanVI
5.0 out of 5 stars A great horror movie!
I just watched the other night at a friends house. Now I am like this is one of those DVD's I must have. This movie is funny in its own way and yet sicking. Read more
Published on March 29 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars want to convert to vegetarianism?
I saw in the pro reviews that this movie had mistakenly been passed for dark comedy and flopped anyway. I understand it. Read more
Published on March 17 2004 by "svartalf"
1.0 out of 5 stars TrezKu13 to filmmakers: "Eat me."
The start of this film was interesting to me. It had a surprising comedic feel to it, cool characters, and a nice 1840's American west setting. Read more
Published on Feb. 1 2004 by TrezKu13
4.0 out of 5 stars This movie was a surprising........'treat'.
This is a very difficult movie to review. How do I explain a movie about cannibalism? Which is exactly what this movie centers on. Read more
Published on Jan. 8 2004 by Elite14
5.0 out of 5 stars Not what expected...
When I saw this movie, there were only three more people in the theater besides me. So I thought that I made a wrong decision entering the theater and wasted my money. Read more
Published on Jan. 5 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars YOU...It's What's For Dinner...
If you know anything about the storied history of this film, you find yourself amazed and pleased, even after the nine-thousandth viewing, that it turned out as well as it... Read more
Published on Dec 18 2003 by C.T. Chase
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