Friday, November 30, 2018

Where Have All The Cowboys Gone: Lasso (2018)

Lasso (2018)
Rating: ***
Starring: Sean Patrick Flanery, Lindsey Morgan, Andrew Jacobs

A survival slasher flick with a Western tang? Can we get a happy yee-hah with that?

It all started with a simple senior citizen outing as two teenage caretakers of the Adventures for Active Seniors group guide some excited old timers to a rodeo show. After half a day of bucking broncos, Rodeo Queen beauty pageants and carnival tomfoolery, our little gang were about to bus home when they unwillingly caught sight of a wounded woman being chased and murdered by a horse-riding cowboy, wielding an eviscerating hook-tipped lasso. What soon follows is a night of cold-blooded torture and gory slaughtering as the bus group unintentionally splits, with one gang getting stranded in the woods to be hunted by a gang of killer cowboys, while another forms an alliance with fellow captives as they try to survive and escape the hellish rodeo show they find themselves in.

Despite lacking any real depth in the story apart that it's a slasher survival flick with killer cowboys, Lasso does its very best to make the most out of this simple premise of a rodeo-themed horror flick, jam-packed with themed deaths, insane plot points and stalk-hunt action to keep a simple slasher fan happy and satisfied carnage-wise. And with the movie's editing and direction have the pace rolling along fairly fast to show how much it embraces the craziness of its own plot, we're eventually thrown into the batty fray and have us treated with enough run for both of the story's doomed groups to cover the carnage they have to traverse through the night.

Mixing the extreme body harm of torture porn flicks and the cat-and-mouse prowling of a typical slasher flick, the amount of violence and death in Lasso relatively goes into hefty numbers as not only do we get a sizable cast of interesting faces fending off our crazed cowboys (a few of which includes Sean Patrick Flanery of Darren Lynn Bousman's The Devil's Carnival (2012), Andrew Jacobs of Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014) and Lindsey Morgan of Beyond Skyline (2017)), but most of the kills have good practical gore effects flowing and very little to no CG is to be found whenever a member of both parties bites the big one. At times, a kill doesn't even necessarily have to show off the chunky detailed latex work to be memorable, with one murder here features a lassoed old lady being swung around the air before getting smacked directly against a tree ala Jason Voorhees' sleeping bag kill at Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1987).

The bulky cast number, though, meant that the script is tainted with your usual eye-rolling stupidity slasher movies are known for, some of which falls into questionable characterization with some of our protagonists be easily sum down to the word "whiny" or "dumb", may it be the young or old. A few does stand out for their badassery or for being a foil for black humor (Flanery's one-armed character, for one, is pretty much The Black Knight from Monty Python and The Holy Grail (1975) as he proceeds to get bloodily roughed up and even lose a few limbs, only to get back and save a whiny protagonist or two), so the film does manage to balance out the passable and the irritable enough to be forgivable.

If there is anything about Lasso that does trigger my mind into thinking is the villain's motive behind capturing and killing these people as the film never really addressed this. At all. I mean I'm not gonna lose some sleep over it and I guess you can say the movie was trying to do the same mystique Halloween (1978) did for its killer Michael Myers by giving the Stetson-wearing blood ranchers no modus behind their murders, but one or two members of this hell ranch aren't into the killings and would even openly help our casts so how exactly does this entire operation work? The pit of rotting corpses definitely shows they've been doing this for a while so what's the story behind all of this? Well, whatever the reason is, the movie think we didn't need it and, in a strange way, they're kinda right for most parts.

Lasso is the kind of indie slasher movie that exists for the sake of existing as well as to lighten up a horror junkie's day with messy sizable deaths and a unique take on villains in the matter of themes. It's that one horror movie that doesn't ask much from its audience apart from simply enjoying the bittersweet gruel it is offering that is a balls-out premise and if you're that one person that, too, isn't asking much, then this is a good keep.

1 horse shot
1 female had her gut ripped out with a steel-tipped whip
1 male had his throat ripped with a steel-tipped whip
1 female murdered, method offscreen
A number of bodies seen in a cart
1 female had her head crushed with a weight
1 male had his neck snapped with a stock
1 male stabbed in the neck with a prong
1 male stabbed on the throat with a prong
A pit full of corpses seen
1 male stabbed on the chest with a prong handle
1 male electrocuted to death with a cattle prod
1 female seen stabbed on the head with a bull horn trophy
1 female snared with a lasso and swung against a tree
1 male beaten to death
1 dog seen disemboweled
1 female thrown off a horse, neck snapped on impact
1 male bludgeoned to death offcamera
1 male stabbed on the neck with a hidden knife
1 male stabbed in the eyes with a horseshoe, head cooked with an iron brand
1 male cut in half with a log saw
1 male had his neck stabbed and hooked with hay hooks, bled to death
1 male stabbed with a pitchfork and beaten with a barbell weight, head crushed
1 male impaled through with a prong
Total: 22+

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