Human Cattle

“We herd sheep, we drive cattle, we lead people” is a phrase attributed to General George Patton, but what about cattle of the upright, bipedal variety?

Human Cattle is the brainchild/co-creation of Rabiddog Films and our pals, The Butcher Shop FX Studio (for an interesting listen, check out our interview with Carlos Henriques, The Butcher Shop’s practical effects creator).

According to Human Cattle’s synopsis, “The Amazon is a beautiful place to visit but you wouldn’t want to die there,” which assumes the conclusion that there’s a place that exists you’d actually want to die (maybe in bed…at 100?)

And further, “Three sexy teenagers take a fun-filled trip out to the Amazon for an exciting getaway filled with seductive pleasures and forbidden desires. Failing to hear the canoe tour guide’s warnings…”

Human Cattle stars Zane Watson, an IFBB bodybuilder whose motto is, “My body is not a work of art. My body reflects the art of work,” statements which are at least half-true were they applied to the authors of the Really Awful Movies site (we’ll let you guess which statement).

This one also co-stars Mitch Markowitz as well. Markowtiz is the brainchild of Hilarious House of Frightenstein, a plucky Canadian Vincent Price-starrer which became an unlikely, long-running smash Canadian TV show.

Human Cattle has got bazookas and a little person with a shotgun. If that’s not an appetizer enticement for the main, we don’t know what is.

 

Backcountry

The reasons for fearing the outdoors in horror are four-fold: getting lost, hunted down by a slasher in the woods, accosted by a family of backwoods types, but rarely, getting attacked by an animal.

Backcountry hints at two of these, and delivers a third. And each is done well enough that the flick could’ve taken an unmarked path less traveled down any of ’em.

Couple Alex and Jenn leave the city (in this case, west Toronto) for a late-summer sojourn in the bush. She’s a newbie, he claims to know his way around the remote provincial park from experience going there as a kid (the meandering roadway to the park will warm the heart of any Ontarian, as will the ranger cabins where you check in before going to your campsite).

She’s packing heavy (flares/bear spray), he’s not. And adamantly so. He keeps her phone back at the car after reluctantly posing for a bush-selfie. Sure, it’s a dick move that stuck in the craw of a number of the pedants on IMDb, but it’s also a believable one. Keep the tech at home, kids, it’s the goddamn wilderness.

Their paths cross with a seedy Irishman with bad table manners (even for the backcountry) and that’s where things take a decidedly different turn.

Director Adam MacDonald (Rookie Blue) eases us into the woods pretty effortlessly and paints a solid picture of isolation/loneliness.

There’s constant chatter among us horror folk about what constitutes too much/little character development. With Alex and Jenn, MacDonald has it “just right,” a la Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

And speaking of bears…well, let’s just say that the film’s apex is an apex predator. There’s a scene that’s bold, brash and bloody.

And boy do we love our animal attack movies…and this fits right in (check out our podcast where we discuss the similarities between Grizzly and The Car)

Backcountry rewards patience, as does appreciation of nature at the end of the day.

Give this one a shot.

***1/2 (out of 5)