Night of the Tommyknockers
Nov 17, 2022
Richard Grieco, Jessica Morris, Angela Cole, Robert LaSardo, Tom Sizemore, Michael Beran
Regarding the title, it should be mentioned that this feature is not related to Stephen King's book The Tommyknockers. This is a comedy horror Western survival film.
The plot takes place during the late 19th century. A band of outlaws robs a bank and finds out about a town called Deer Creek, where there is a mine nearby that has gold. The gang go there, with the law in pursuit. Once there, they find the place deserted and realise that something is terribly wrong. Horrible creatures known as 'Tommmyknockers', who live inside the mines, have overtaken the area and are devouring people. Having found themselves in a life-threatening situation, the robbers must collaborate with the remaining survivors if they are to make it through this alive.
This is an enjoyable movie with plenty of action and humour that combines the Western genre with horror comedy. The narrative begins as horror, with miners being killed by the monsters, then switches to Western for a while, with a bank robbery and a shootout, before going back to horror, with the deadly entities attacking the town. There are quite a few characters, however there is not a main character, with the focus going from one person to the other. Some characters who stand out are Dirk (Grieco), the leader of the gang, Betsy (Cole), the only woman in the gang, Marshal Steed (Sizemore) and Lucky (LaSardo), a member of the gang. There are plenty of fights between people and the monsters, with guns or melee weapons being used in order to fight them. There is a lot of gore and some gruesome scenes, where victims are torn apart by the creatures. As one character after the other is killed, one wonders who (if anyone) will be the survivor.
The mise-en-scene is rather interesting and contains elements that are often seen in Westerns and horror. Regarding Westerns, the clothing looks great and so do the firearms and buildings. For horror, the Tommyknockers look horrible and terrifying and they are arguably the highlight of the film. They have sharp teeth and their appearance generally resembles that of zombies. A lot of praise goes to the creativity that was applied to the monsters and to the makeup involving wounds.
The acting is not realistic, however that does not damage the movie a lot, as this is also a comedy and although few characters come across as likeable, the performances are entertaining nevertheless.
The feature gains from tense music, interesting lighting techniques and special mention goes to the cool opening credits, that consist of a creative montage, accompanied by a great score.
To summarise, this is a Cowboys versus Monsters movie and an enjoyable one too. The story is intriguing, the fight scenes are entertaining and the creatures look great.