Ravenous

1999

Ravenous

Critics Consensus

Ravenous tries bringing cannibal horror into an Old West setting, ending up with an uneven blend that will fail to satisfy most fans of either genre.

45%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 47

78%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 21,442
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Movie Info

In 1847, many Americans made the journey across our continent in search of gold. Many failed to complete the journey or see their dreams come to light. Capt. John Boyd (Guy Pearce) found his way here thanks to an act of cowardice during the Mexican-American War; he has been banished to a desolate military outpost in California's Sierra Nevada mountains. Upon his arrival, he is greeted by a rag-tag group of soldiers manning the fort: Hart (Jeffrey Jones), the despondent commanding officer; Toffler (Jeremy Davies), the company chaplain; Knox (Stephen Spinella), the drunken doctor; Reich (Neal McDonough), the only real soldier of the group; and Cleaves (David Arquette), the heavily medicated camp cook. One day, Colqhoun (Robert Carlyle) stumbles into their camp. The half-starved Scotsman had been traveling with a group of settlers until they were snowbound. Unable to move forward, they took refuge in a cave, where once they ran out of food, they were forced to resort to cannibalism. Colqhoun barely escaped the madness -- or did he? Boyd and the soldiers hear of the old Indian legend of the Wendigo, which states a man who tastes the flesh of another steals that man's strength, spirit and essence. His hunger, however, will become an unstoppable craving. Like a vampire, the more he eats, the more he wants, and the stronger he will become, with death the only escape from the madness. The soldiers are soon drawn into the frenzy and Boyd is soon left with the choice of eating or being eaten. ~ Ron Wells, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Ravenous

All Critics (47) | Top Critics (9)

  • Imagine a film that makes A Modest Proposal-style satire out of Dracula's gothic horror tropes in the spaghetti western milieu of The Great Silence. It's a pitch-black comedy about Manifest Destiny and cannibal frontiersmen.

    Jun 17, 2014 | Full Review…
  • ... the definitive frontier cannibal movie. ... a gruesome survival thriller with a crimson-hued streak of black humor and an elemental hint of the supernatural.

    Dec 1, 2016 | Full Review…
  • It's a layered and very unique satire on America's consumption of the world...

    Jun 25, 2014 | Full Review…
  • 'He was licking me!' That plaintive, disgusted wail is pretty unforgettable once you've seen this one-of-a-kind tongue-in-cheek/blood-in-mouth historical horror movie that has garnered an appreciative cult audience...

    Jun 6, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Ravenous is unlike anything else, and even if it's not to my own specific taste, I have great respect for its unrepentant weirdness.

    Jun 3, 2014 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • There's an awkwardness to Ravenous' more violent scenes, and while Carlyle and Jones give zesty performances, the rest of the supporting cast is quirky to a fault.

    Jun 2, 2014 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Ravenous

  • Apr 13, 2016
    Based on the legend of Alfred Packer, Ravenous is a supernatural spin on the original story by introducing the mythical wendigo into this tale of cannibalism. It was darkly humourous, everyone performed well beyond expectation even though the budget is only suited for a B movie.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • May 06, 2014
    This is a film of two halves. One half, where the mystery of what exactly happened in the cave is still unknown, is easily the better of the two halves. Perhaps it's not better, but the film score certainly helped make it seem better. And then there's the second half, where you know who Colonel Ives really is and how Boyd attempts to expose him and his actions to others, who don't believe him and assume he had something to do with the others' disappearance and/or death. I wasn't as into the film in the second half as I was into the first one, the fun and the mystery is all but gone once you find out the truth. Robert Carlyle is great as always, but the film becomes more and more conventional as it went along rather than it being the other way around. The story is darkly comedic and there's plenty of laughs to be had but, again, it's something that tapers off as the film progresses. But at least the film has a dark, but ironic, tone. Too many horror films forget their inherent silliness as they try to make everything so serious. It's good to see that not every horror filmmaker feels that way and injects a little comedy into a horrofic story of cannibalism. Still, even if there's problems with the pacing and the amount of interesting content to fill 95 minutes worth of film, and this is a problem with the horror genre in general and not with this film in particular, I found this to be a pretty good movie all things considered. The combination of a great first half, with an excellent score, and a killer performance from Robert Carlyle certainly helps make-up for the film's problems in the second half. Not great, but a solid horror film nonetheless.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Jan 04, 2014
    This odd little movie has been wrongly advertised as an horror movie. This plays more like a dark comedy and the lunacy of war and how blinded soldiers follow a leader into battle, becoming brainwashed in the process. Yeah! All that on a canibalistic flick with great actors delivering amazing dialogue lines.
    Francisco G Super Reviewer
  • Oct 07, 2013
    Unjustly maligned upon its release, 'Ravenous' is a unique, atmospheric and stingingly funny horror-comedy with a splendid ensemble cast. Cannibalism is a subject that can cause nausea in most people but it is handled with a deft comedic touch in Ted Griffin's shrewd screenplay. Despite the production troubles, Bird is firmly adept at scenes of high-voltage action (such as the final duel between Boyd and Ives), quirky humor (Toffler's zealot shtick is always amusing) and grandiose horror (the descent into the catacombs is genuinely nerve-racking). The quixotic tone is set immediately with a food-related quote from Ben Franklin followed by the anonymous citation "eat me". Carlyle was such a preening disappointment as a Bond villain in 'The World is Not Enough'. However, he is unfathomably urbane and demonic as Ives who feigns insanity in order to lull his hosts into a false sense of security before he voraciously devours them. The wintry landscape of the outpost seamlessly heightens the isolationist dread. With a bevy of wry one-liners ("Breakfast. Lunch. Reinforcements.") and unsettling themes about the "wendigo" power of replenishing one's lifeforce, 'Ravenous' is a unsullied jewel in Griffin's work.
    Cory T Super Reviewer

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