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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most under-rated black comedy with a sinister streak
How this film can have escaped the attention of the cinema-going masses is surely beyond comprehension for all those who have seen this distinctly original film. Unlike other cannibal based films of recent years the director has brought some neat humour to this very dark subject- for example deciding upon the ingredients for the stew of David Arquette. The plot focuses...
Published on 7 Sep 2000 by william.robinson@knaresborough...

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre blu-ray transfer.
The two stars are for a mediocre transfer of an excellent, underrated, misunderstood movie. A black suspense-comedy that gains in ulterior viewings. Not an up-to-your-face comedy, of course. Wittly dialogues, marvelous actors, excellent production desing and music. Unfortunately, the transfer is not as good as it should; there is very little definition, the image is...
Published 1 month ago by Francisco Josť Poyato Ariza


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most under-rated black comedy with a sinister streak, 7 Sep 2000
This review is from: Ravenous [VHS] [1999] (VHS Tape)
How this film can have escaped the attention of the cinema-going masses is surely beyond comprehension for all those who have seen this distinctly original film. Unlike other cannibal based films of recent years the director has brought some neat humour to this very dark subject- for example deciding upon the ingredients for the stew of David Arquette. The plot focuses on cowardly war hero Guy Pearce who is sent to a remote fort in mid 19th century America. Within days of his arrival at the lonely fort Robert Carlyle arrives (once again proving how good he can be at playing a psychopath...) and the body count quickly grows. With brilliant cameo performances from Jeffrey Jones and David Arquette(who can show the makers of 'Scream' how horror films should be done) this film really deserved better recognition, as did the excellent soundtrack composed by Damon Albarn adding to the quirky and chilling atmosphere the film creates.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You are who you eat, 22 Jan 2007
This review is from: Ravenous [1999] [DVD] (DVD)
This has got to be the creepiest film I have ever seen. No matter how many time you watch it, the it makes your skin crawl and the hairs on the back of you neck stand up.

Set in the Sierra Nevadas, during the Mexican/American war in the eighteen hundreds, Ravenous tells the story of Captain Boyd, sent out to the remote Fort Spencer on a back-handed promotion after capturing an enemy fort through less than honourable means. The relative peace, is shattered however, when a stranger named Colhoun turns up one night, frostbitten and telling a spine-chilling tale of cannibalism when he and his fellow travellers became trapped in the mountains. Setting out on a rescue mission for the remaining travellers, it soon becomes apparant to the skeleton crew of Fort Spencer that Colhoun is not all that he claims to be... Can Boyd save himself and the others from Colhoun...and his own cravings?

Get ready for a film full of human flesh-eating, madness-tinged thrills, set to a backdrop of a truly amazing soundtrack of music that adds buckets to the tension and suspense.

Also, make sure you watch the wolf-pit scene, with the sound turned well up, if you want the full shudder-inducing effect. anyone who's seen it will know exactly what I'm talking about!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ravenous (Potential spoilers!), 4 Jan 2004
This review is from: Ravenous [1999] [DVD] (DVD)
Ravenous is the story of American war hero John Boyd (Guy Pearce). He is sent to a remote military outpost in the Rockies, which is manned by various misfits (gibbering religious Private Toffler, drunken Major Knox, lonely Col. Hart, stoner Private Cleaves). One night a Scotsman named Colquhoun (Robert Carlyle) appears, and tells them how his group got lost and were forced to eat each other for food. He says that there may be a woman left alive, and so some of the men go to look. The resulting barmy tale is superb black comedy, and director Antonia Bird handles the action with skill, as well as treating the more serious scenes with the respect that they deserve. Interestingly, the project went through three directors before shooting began, but Bird appears to have been a perfect choice.
Guy Pearce is excellent as Boyd, and though his character has little to say, Pearce handles playing Boyd well. Robert Carlyle is also brilliant, his performance has to be seen to be believed. The cast is full of superb character actors, who are Jeffrey Jones (Sleepy Hollow, Devil's Advocate) as Col. Hart, Neal McDonough (Minority Report, TV's Boomtown) as the tough soldier, John Spencer (The Rock, The Negotiator) as the insensitive General, and the brilliant Jeremy Davies as Private Toffler. The film also has a suprisingly good performance from David Arquette as Private Cleaves.
Also, listen out for the bizarre score by Damon Albarn and Michael Nyman. Overall, this film is insane, but it is also a work of genius.
The DVD has three commentaries: one from Bird and Albarn, one from Jones and the screenwriter Ted Griffin, and a solo effort from Robert Carlyle. Carlyle's commentary is funny and engaging, and the others are worth a listen. There are deleted scenes, some of which deserved to be in the finished film, with optional commentary from Bird, a trailer, and photo galleries. A nice single disc package which is well worth buying.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Weird Wendigo Western., 23 Mar 2013
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ravenous [1999] [DVD] (DVD)
Ravenous is directed by Antonia Bird and written by Ted Griffin. It stars Guy Pearce, Robert Carlyle, Jeremy Davies, Jeffrey Jones, David Arquette and Neal McDonough. Music is by Michael Nyman and Damon Albarn and cinematography by Anthony B. Richmond.

It is the time of the Mexican-American War, and the small assortment of men who inhabit Fort Spencer are about to have their lives altered forever when the mysterious F.W. Colqhoun (Carlyle) wanders into the Fort...

A box office flop, a troubled production and a weirdness that permeates the narrative and technical credits, would indicate Ravenous as being a potential stinker to steer clear of? Not so though. For a good many film fans will tell you that many of the critics and paying customers of the time just didn't get it, they wasn't prepared to work out the tone and unique vibe of the whole thing.

Ravenous is gloriously unique, there's an unpredictability about the film right from the off. From the very first strains of a deliciously oblique music score, to the cracker-jack finale, Ravenous is content to toy with your expectations, to tickle your funny bone, yet to also turn your stomach in an instant.

Atmosphere is everything to a film like this, and Ravenous has it in spades, it's claustrophobic in its eeriness, yet visually it's also stunning, where Richmond's photography brings the beauty of the Tara Mountains to life one minute, then mutes the colours the next when the human beings take centre stage and the thematic of plotting unfolds.

Characterisations are deliberately off-kilter, as are a couple of key scenes, while performances are splendidly in tune with the material to hand (Carlyle is just great and revelling in playing such a tasty role). Bird, who stepped in at the last minute, does a fine job of blending the dangling threads of three genres, she keeps it tense but knows exactly when to pause to filter in some darkly comic beats.

Undeniably the last third is not up to the standard of what has gone before, tight atmospherics and edgy period promise give way to something more conventional in horror parlance terms. So yes! It's not the perfect meal at all, but it's darn near gourmet stuff and once sampled, Ravenous leaves a lasting and favourable taste on the tongue. 8/10
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PURE AMAZEMENT, 31 Dec 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Ravenous [VHS] [1999] (VHS Tape)
Ok, it says it is a black comedy, but you could forget that. It is just brilliant - brilliantly scripted, acted, directed, shot, cast etc. The soundtrack is sheer amazement, by the way.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good enough to eat, 27 Oct 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Ravenous [1999] [DVD] (DVD)
I've seen this film about 4 or 5 times now, and it keeps getting better. Set in the 19th century American wilderness, this is a tale about Cannibalism. Its excellently shot (on location in Slovakia, I do believe), and the whole cast is excellent, especially Robert Carlyle as Colquoun. It maybe be a chiller, but its the thick vein of dark humour that keeps me coming back.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Which to use? "The smell of meat cooking...I thanked the Lord." or "It's lonely being a cannibal...tough making friends.", 16 Nov 2008
By 
C. O. DeRiemer (San Antonio, Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ravenous [1999] [DVD] (DVD)
Some think trooper is best prepared boiled, with turnips, potatoes and cabbage. Others recommend that trooper be slow braised in red wine and onions, a kind of trooper bourguignon, which will produce a deep red sauce. Most, however, speak to trooper served simply, with a slight dusting of salt if available, and as fresh as can be.
--From Recipes for the Ravenous, from Ribald Rangers to Raw Recruits

With the exception of the last 10 minutes, Ravenous is a fine movie, full of revoltingly intelligent horror, with a disgustingly vivid storyline and nauseatingly moist close-ups. It's one of the best-photographed movies I've seen in a long time, and not just because of the entrails and caked blood. The movie looks cold to the bone, even inside the snow-laden huts and buildings that make up isolated Fort Spencer. The director, Antonia Bird, gives us strong story telling. The horror and the prospects of what we'll see are matched with restrained plotting and persuasive acting. The situation is outlandish and we can't help but smile at how cleverly Bird serves it up on a plate for us. At the same time, what happens to the characters isn't funny at all. It's Grand Guignol in the snow.

The movie is set in the late 1840's, high in the California Sierra Nevada mountains. Fort Spencer is a small outpost, with only eight men. Three are important to us. The rest are important for other reasons. There's Captain Boyd (Guy Pearce), who was a coward in the Mexican-American War. He wound up in a pile of corpses, their blood tricking into his mouth, but eventually did a heroic deed. He was awarded a medal and then promptly sent to the isolated Fort Spencer. There's Colonel Hart (Jeffrey Jones), the commanding officer of the detachment's seven men. And there is the ragged man (Robert Carlyle) who, one frigid night, nearly out of his mind and nearly dead of the cold, staggers to the fort. He says he is F. W. Colqhoun. He has quite a tale to tell. Part of it is true. The other part? Think of an old Indian legend that when one dines on another person, one gathers in that other person's strength. A bite of liver, a chew of thigh will set up a man for days with good humor and virility...heals wounds and cures sickness, too.

Whether California will be populated by settlers and gold prospectors or by military cannibals depends on a coward who is trying to fight his inclinations. That brings us to the showdown battle between two men who, having dined recently, have great strength. It's a battle that is loaded with big-fight, gruesome clichés. The movie is so sly and original that it's a shame it is stuck with a climax that is so predictably groan-slash-slice-stab-squirt. The final scene, involving a general and a pot of stew, seemed to me to be just a cheap final laugh. It made pointless Colonel Hart's integrity and Captain Boyd's bravery. It undercut the reason for the two men's final actions.

Robert Carlyle chews the snowy scenery but he's a fine actor. Guy Pearce has the tough job of being a frightened coward, yet brave and honorable when it comes down to it. Jeffrey Jones' as Colonel Hart gives the most intriguing performance, in my view. Hart looks like a disintegrating, heavy-set buffoon when we first meet him. He turns out to be a competent, thoughtful, well-educated officer who knows his men, knows himself and knows his job. And he knows the horror he's become. Jones gives a dramatic, ironic, likeable performance.

Ravenous is a first-class movie with a second-class ending.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ravenous, 16 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Ravenous [1999] [DVD] (DVD)
One of my favourites, Robert Carlisle deserved some sort of award for this. Dark, violent, gory and sometimes funny thriller about being far from anywhere with the weather against you. 's all im saying...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dances With Cannibals, 30 Sep 2006
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This review is from: Ravenous [1999] [DVD] (DVD)
Set during the era of the U.S.-Mexican war, Ravenous follows the story of a soldier who is left for dead by the Mexicans in a pile of blood-soaked bodies awaiting burial. When he escapes and returns to the army, he has changed somewhat ...

With the story seeing him posted out into a dilapidated fort on the distant frontier by a potty commander, the beginning of the film has a "Dances With Wolves" feel about it.

His first mission with his rag-tag team is to respond to a cry for help from a survivor of a wagon travelling through the frontier, telling tales of murder and cannibalism. But all is not as it seems, and he soon discovers that there is a more supernatural force at work here to contend with. Given that the enemy requires human meat to maintain supernatural qualities, the cannibal element in this film is essentially a vampiric one.

The atmosphere throughout the film ranges through morbid, tense and exciting, though is occasionally spoiled a little by the use of an up-beat score at inappropriate times. There is some good creepy music too, however, although I can't decide if I like the electronically produced folky number; it seems to clash with the film's otherwise good authenticity a little.

In summary, a creepy supernatural horror with traces of "Dances With Wolves" in setting and premise, and a vampire story in content. Good stuff.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little known movie that you musn't miss., 20 Jan 2004
This review is from: Ravenous [1999] [DVD] (DVD)
Never heard of this movie until I caught it on BBC2 the other night (relagated to the graveyard slot with little promotion given to it). I only watched it out of intrigue. So glad I did; haven't been this engorssed or impressed for a long time!
You must see it - but be prepared to some stomach churning moments. A great music score from Damon Albarn into the bargain - along with the fabulous Guy Pearce, Robert Carlyle and Jeffrey Jones amongst the cast.
Just brilliant - see it now!
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Ravenous [Blu-ray] [1999] [US Import]
Ravenous [Blu-ray] [1999] [US Import] by John Spencer (Blu-ray - 2014)
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