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Night of the Tommyknockers (Review)

When the sun goes down, they come out

Director – Michael Su (Death Count, Bridge of the Doomed)
Starring – Richard Grieco (Jungle Run, Art of the Dead), Tom Sizemore (The Relic, Saving Private Ryan), and Robert LaSardo (Death Race, Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies)
Release Date – 2022
Rating – 3/5

It’s not often horror fans find a western with them in mind but when we do we tend to be extremely critical of it. I don’t know a single genre fan that doesn’t enjoy a good horror western but due to their scarcity we usually hold them to a higher standard than other sub-genres. Honestly, I really look forward to horror westerns when I hear one is in production. I can thank my biological father for that. He lived on old westerns, so they were constantly playing in our home. Since I was bit by the horror bug I’ve been lucky enough to watch a few true horror westerns that I enjoy along with the slew of horror films inspired by westerns.

A few weeks ago producer Sonny Mahal reached out to me to review their horror western Night of the Tommyknockers. Tommyknockers was made popular by Stephen King but as a lifelong resident of the Appalachia’s I had heard stories of them from miners since I was a small child. These urban legends are more popular in the western mining towns but anywhere that relies heavily on mining like McDowell County, where I grew up, had versions of their own. I quickly agreed to reviewing the film and tossed it in when I had the chance.

**Spoiler Alert** The film follows a group of outlaws on the run after robbing a bank. They decide to make a trip to a small mining town where it is rumored that they have struck gold. They arrive in the town at dusk and discover it abandoned with everything left in place. After they split up to investigate, they soon discover that the few survivors of the town has held up in the saloon. They soon realize that the miners in the nearby mines had went too far uncovering a large gold deposit and unleashing the hell of the tommyknockers. **Spoiler Alert**

Night of the Tommyknockers has a lot going for it which overshadows the bad but it’s far from perfect. There was a few things that I didn’t care for but I think I’m being a little overly critical, as I stated earlier, because it has been sometime since I’ve reviewed a horror western horror. It has a fantastic cast, a wild story, and the locations really work for the film.

The acting in this one is fucking great. Honestly, I’ve never really been a fan of Richard Greico. He was alright in 21 Jump Street and the few films he did around this time but since then his performances were extremely stiff and he was clearly there for a quick paycheck. With that being said, he absolutely fucking killed it here. In fact, I didn’t realize it was Grieco until the credits were rolling. He seriously impressed me and made me rethink watching his performances in previous films. The film features another stellar performance, yet short lived, from legendary screen icon Tom Sizemore along with the always entertaining Robert LaSardo. The cast is impressive all around but seeing these three in the same film was thrilling.

The story for this one works. The title, Night of the Tommyknockers, quickly makes genre fans think of the classic Romero film Night of the Living Dead and for good reason. Both films have similar titles and both feature people fighting to survive the night locked up in a building of some sort. We also have the legend of the tommyknockers which was popular among miners at this time and is sometimes still told to red hats. I loved the setup, the story, and the surroundings but the editing did get under my skin a few times. The film spends way too much time jumping from characters in different locations. When the movie starts to build steady momentum and atmosphere, we jump from the group in the saloon to the whorehouse upstairs or vice versa. I’ve reviewed enough movies to know that there was a better way to tackle this without making the film feel so clunky.

Finally, the film has some great make-up effects and a lot of bloody moments. In fact, I was impressed by the look of the creatures along with a few of the death scenes. On the opposite side of that coin, we get some horrible visual effects and the wardrobe bugged the absolute shit out of me. Everyone’s clothing is so clean and tidy. When I watch a western, I want to see some dirty clothes and warn wardrobes. Overall, Night of the Tommyknockers was an unexpected treat. I really enjoyed the film and it really put Sonny Mahal and Mahal Empire on my radar. I’m seriously looking forward to the next film in the pipeline from them.

Written by Blacktooth

(Staff Writer) Lover of all things horror and metal. Also likes boobs and booze.

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