Lasso Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
Released by Dragonfly Films
Directed by Evan Cecil
Written by Roberto Marinas
2017, 97 minutes, Not Yet Rated
Frightfest European premiere on 25th August 2018
Sean Patrick Flanery as Ennis
Lindsey Morgan as Kit
Andrew Jacobs as Simon
Karen Grassle as Lillian
On a day out from the old people home, two carers and their pensionable wards stumble across a rodeo of psychopaths, kidnapping folk, branding them like animals and slaughtering people like cattle. With the bus broken down and the group split up, young and old alike face a fight for their lives as the psycho rodeo bears down upon them. Yee-haw.
Lip-service is paid to the film's 'what if we abused humans like we do animals' theme, but largely director Evan Cecil is most interested in putting his rodeo setting to good use. Rarely do horror films so effectively put the tools of their surroundings to such gainful employment as Cecil does here – actual horses, branding irons, cattle prods, the lasso – this slasher film revels in its toolshed, taking apart its heroes (and some of the villains too) with sadistic glee.
It's the film Rob Zombie's 31 should have been; a less colourful 2001 Maniacs with the inventiveness of a Hatchet sequel. Once it gets going, this action horror film rarely lets up, galloping from gory set piece to gory set piece. Lindsey Morgan and Andrew Jacobs are likeable if wooden (Morgan is incapable of much more than pretty pouting), and the film's star turn comes from the most unexpected of places: Sean Patrick Flanery as one-armed cowboy Ennis.
There's something about the Boondock Saints star that I've always been unable to take seriously (that film ruined Daryl Dixon for me too), whether it's The Evil Within or his Saw movie. But Lasso is the film that finally sold me on a Flanery performance, and he quietly steals the show as the luckless tough-guy. Make no mistake, it's exactly the same Sean Patrick Flanery performance as he gives in just about everything, but that and the writing really work for him here. Lasso is the best Sean Patrick Flanery movie I have ever seen. Take that to mean what you will.
The Flanery and his compatriots are just set-dressing for the gory, gruesome action though, and it's this which will have horror fans in stitches. It's nasty without being too mean-spirited, silly without crossing the line into out-and-out horror comedy. I cackled like an idiot at some of the dafter deaths, cringed in all the right places and cheered during its more triumphant beats. It's cheap, repetitive and visually ugly, but its energy and playfulness give it a sense of vibrancy that can't be denied.
Lasso is a riot; it knows what it is and has no pretensions as to being anything else. It has its flaws, but this dark rodeo clown will rope you in and hogtie you up with its charm. Yee-haw.
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