When miners blast for gold in the 1870’s, they accidentally release ancient creatures known as Tommyknockers. The Town of Deer Creek, Nevada is soon under siege with only a handful of survivors held up in the local saloon.
Dipping a foot in the western/horror genres is an interesting move and in itself Night of the Tommyknockers is never truly scary or suspenseful, but that doesn’t stop it being a reasonably fast-paced action flick. In its second half, when the western genre gets horror squeezed, it allows for an small injection of suspense and some silly deaths while a satisfying daftness comes over the whole film. It rips through its minutes, smashing genres all over the place as it becomes a western-comedy-monster-action flick mash-up.
At times some of the acting performances leave a lot to be desired but it does not detract from a well welded, well-intentioned film. There’s an element of crowdfunding involved with the production and although noticeable, it adds to the charm as novice actors mingle with seasoned lesser movie stars. The well-humoured cast includes the charismatic Grieco, Robert LaSardo, Jessica Morris, Angela Cole and a thoroughly enjoyable, albeit short, shift from Tom Sizemore as the town’s sheriff.
Centred around the western folklore of the Tommyknockers, the films practical monster effects are unfashionably old-school, and they actually work well in this modern age as a nice comparable to all the oft-overused CGI stuff. It all adds to the film’s unique daftness. Mixed in is a bit of humour, predictable gore and a bit of a shoot-em-up and at the end you have an entertaining almost 90 minutes of genre busting silliness.
As corny and hammy as it is, it serves up a tantalising treat with, yet again, tonnes of collaborative effort on show and some serious self-awareness as to its own limitations. As with other Mahal productions, the sound and editing are solid and it yet again shows that these filmmakers really know how to make a low-budget film that remains not only interesting until the end, but films that are also thoroughly enjoyable to watch.
Night of the Tommyknockers lands on VOD, Blu-ray and DVD on 25th November, 2022.