Once again Epic Pictures and Dread Central Presents teamed up to deliver director Evan Cecil’s film Lasso (aided by production firm Dragonfly films) to the masses, clearly from the artwork and the title a horror western themed flick, but the main question, does it survive a round up and a shootout. Well screenwriter Roberto Marinas (Headgame ) delivers a big body count along with several gruesome deaths, with an unusual mixture of interest characters. However before getting to the actual film, one needs to understand the mixture of two vastly different genres of horror and western, but are they truly separate, westerners often a battle of wills, good and evil, journeys to cemeteries, forbidden places, wrong turns, ghost-towns, cabins in the woods, and so on, all of it the same in the horror movies. Therefore, noting only briefest of western-horror movies, the impressive Bone Tomahawk (2015) to the classic Near Dark (1987) and even the b-movie Ghost Town (1988).
The story opens with a group of elderly men and women of an ‘Adventures for Active Seniors’ group headed by primary and responsible caregiver Kit (Lindsey Morgan (Chastity Bites ) and her unhelpful co-worker, Simon (Andrew Jacobs) who seems as a loner, uncaring and lacking any confidence. They’re all set for their day at The Hacket Rodeo a location with people wearing cowboy hats and lame carnival games, out in the countryside. The location owned and run by a former rodeo champion, Hacket (Thomas Cokenias), it’s odd place, rundown, scarce and appears there’s something not quite right about the place. The carnival is not very entertaining, both lacking other visitors (extras) and personnel to the Rodeo, for example, one woman ventures to an outdoor gift shop and giddily purchases worn raccoon tail keychain. No one truly stands out, the camera follows Simon, his weakness pours out in every scene, its appears from his demeanor, actions, and emotions, that everything is coming to a boiling point when teased at a carnival strong man game by character named Brodeo (Travis Andre Ross (Quadrant 9EV9 ). Simon’s only task is to check on Lillian, (Karen Grassie most known for her role on Little House on the Prairie) who brings a fun mix to the film, sassy and tough, with liquor hidden and a fake cellphone, he struggles to complete the task. Once seated to watch the entertainment they witness a rodeo queen, Rosheen (Heather Mignon), crowned, all involved less than happy for inclusion. Then doing a speed stalking hay bales contest meet Trish (Skyler Cooper) and then one-armed cowboy, Ennis (Sean Patrick Flanery, starring in his second horror western film the known as Howlers ) who rides a bucking horse; but it breaks its leg, no humane efforts, just shot in the head in front of spectators and hauled off to a glue factory, however it doesn’t matter no one cares.
Finally the slasher western action starts with a black-outfitted cowboy suddenly appearing and chasing a woman using a spiked lasso killing his primary target, Simon finds himself left behind as Kit drives away fleeing in terror. After a while the action focuses on the racking up the body count at the rodeo arena, in various manners, it happens quickly, no reason given why, some kernel of information, quite unimportant from the filmmakers point of view. Our hero Ennis shows the most guts while still compassionate, and ready to man-up despite his disability. Interesting the killers and their victims both uses ingenious methods to kill each other, from cattle prods to hay bales hooks, branding irons, a Two-man Crosscut saw, a weighted gym plate just to name a few aside from the lasso, sadly no Handle Planting Dibble (ask gardeners and ranch hands).
Lasso gives many cool death scenes, but forget to pack a plot, or storyline, it all feels off kilter, a vague tale wrapped in great artwork, theme, and cinematography, but not much else. Hackett and his men using horse steroids to beef up, but it doesn’t connect to the killing, and one of them loses to a woman, so she outproduced them. There are hints to the concept what represents masculinity, able to display strength, walk with a swagger, think on your own, while belittling and bullying others. It does show the cowboy career, tough, and definitely not for everyone, however none of this is explored deeper, though women in the film not a bed of rose either, shown for both caring and toughness, as well as manipulating situations, especially against Simon. Most of the killing sequences occur without any planning or care, just murdering for the sake of screen time, doesn’t treat the audience with any respect.
Like a typical slasher movie, the characters tend to exhibit cardboard depth, though Ennis does give the audience something to cling on to, until a ridiculous level spirals into the script. A refreshing scene comes from an older group of individuals lead to the slaughter, rather than mere sex crazed teenagers. The problem with the movie extends from not knowing why the killers kill, in any slasher we learn the reason, Freddy, Jason, Michael, Norman, and Hannibal, it’s a mystery that plagues the movie and the audiences at the same time. Therefore, one could tie the roping of this untamed horse, but steer clear after a one viewing.
IMDb Ratting: 4.7/10
Baron’s Rating: 4.0/10