This movie is not The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, but it certainly has some of the latter. Let us save the good for last.
First, a run down about what I believe this film is supposed to be. Night Of The Tommyknockers boast the potential to be a gritty action/horror/western that takes place mostly on a dark night in the tiny western town. Put simply, it doesn’t pull it off. We open with miners telling us the legend of the giant leprechauns, I mean Tommyknockers. The film centers around the survivors of a mining town and a group of rough and tumble outlaws, the “Dirt gang”. When miners dig too deep for gold they release the bloodthirsty creatures known as Tommyknockers, dooming the town of Deer Creek, Nevada. Meanwhile the Dirt gang, led by Dirk (Richard Greico) are doing what outlaws do best, crime. After a successful bank robbery, where we are told there ain’t supposed to be no killin’. The gang kills a couple people that “deserve it” and retire to a cozy campfire in the desert. This is where we are then given information that there might be gold in that town of Deer Creek. The gang heads to the town only to find it apparently deserted. Once night falls they soon find a Saloon where most of the remaining towns folk are trying to wait the night out. We are then given more story about the Tommyknockers. I think you get where things are going from here. The rest of the film is survival.
Instead of looking like a gritty western with a horror chaser, the film sometimes comes off like you’re watching Annie Get Your Gun or Oklahoma (those are musicals and yes I’ve seen them, so what!). The costume designs are clean and sometimes colorful but somehow felt off. The creature design at times seems like a person in a loose full body suit. It really took away any fright that I may have felt. These small details really took me out of the story. Some of the props were a real issue in the same way. Some of the weapons appear to be rubber or foam and
it’s noticeable. One of our posse carries a knife that looks like it was bought at a Halloween store. I’m pretty sure I used the exac
t same one in this year’s costume. My favorite prop mishap is a shovel that folds like a tortilla when smashed against the body of a Tommyknocker.
The bad of the film really shines with three things, the acting, the dialogue, and the many inconsistencies and unfinished sub plots. Wait, is that four? Nope I think thats five. I’m not really counting anyway and I’ve never been great at math. The acting was all over the place. It was a hodgepodge of decent to good performances and those straight out Pornhub’s greatest hits. My two favorite lines of dialogue were “He deserved it” and “Oh no, Buttercup”. Both of these lines and their delivery gave me an unintended belly laugh. Many of the lines are delivered with a type of deadpan tone that is more frightening than the movie itself. The inconsistencies in the story heavily revolve around where people are in the town, including the Tommyknockers. They are portrayed as ravenous killers that won’t let anyone step out of the safety of the saloon, which at times seems somewhat open and easily accessible. The Tommyknockers brutally kill town folks and horses (Buttercup), they seem to appear, then disappear with no rhyme or reason to where they go or how they got there. It seemed at times the survivors, as well as a couple newcomers stand around in the open and have lengthy conversations while not one of the Tommyknockers shows up. Some of the survivors are introduced and then we never see them again. I hope the prisoners in the jail are ok! Who really knows what hurts the Tommyknockers. Some of them can run through a barrage of bullets, while at other times a blunt object or a weak kick might do the trick. We also see the beginnings of a few sub stories that we get no closure at all. While most of the film was shot very well, some scenes seemed as if they were shot in a totally different place, maybe on a soundstage with all the lights out except one bright one in the middle of the room. Some other lighting was an issue for me as well. A chunk of the climax takes place at night yet every open window appears to have a spotlight bright light shining through at all times.
Finally there was some good in the movie. Richard Greico, Tom Sizemore, and Robert LaSardo all
had passable performances. Unfortunately they were somewhat drowned out by some of the not so outstanding performances. The shining stars of the film are Jessica Morris and Robert Donavan. Their performances are believable and genuine. Donavan unfortunately only has a couple short sc
enes. I wanted more of his story. Robert LaSardo brought some humor to the role of Lucky, they call him that for a reason. The blood and gore was well done but somewhat lacking throughout the movie. Michael Su really did a decent job of filming. Most scenes were shot well, which I believe may be due to his heavy background in cinematography. The soundtrack stood out as one of my favorite things in the entire film. It was fitting and really helped set the feel. Hats off to Scott Glasgow!
All in all I didn’t hate the film but I don’t see myself watching it over and over. Don’t take my word for it, watch it for yourself. It will be available November 25, 2022 on VOD, Bluray and DVD.
This movie is not The Good, The Bad and The Ugly