Lasso

An Active Senior Tour group outing turns deadly when the crazed, bloodthirsty cowboys from a local rodeo attraction start abducting and killing people.

It’s never a good sign when the rodeo has to end early on account of an accident. In fact, the “Active Seniors” bus group sitting in the stands should have high-tailed it out of there that very instant. The younger folks guiding the tour Kit (Lindsey Morgan) and Simon (Andrew Jacobs) did do their very best to wrangle their cantankerous crew back into the travel bus, It’s true. However, after Lillian (Karen Grassle) left a hairbrush in the stands, Simon is sent to retrieve it and witnesses what goes on at the rodeo when the stands are empty, and the Cowboys have the place to themselves. Lasso is a hack-and-slash gorefest that flips the script on traditional rodeo convention turning the clueless humans into the prey offering a nasty, gloriously sanguine horror pic leaning heavy on kills and light on plot.

The signs were there from the beginning. In fact, when Simon had a peculiar long-stare run-in with Brodeo (Travis Andre Ross) in the midway, they simply should have left. But no. So, back to losing the brush… Simon sees the Cowboys having their way with an animal activist who was seen protesting their event.

“…left at the rodeo to discover more kidnapped human livestock.”

Meanwhile, another escaped victim rushes the group bus for help and is disposed of by a man on a horse with a lasso. This is when things get out of hand. Kit and the senior bus shoot off onto the highway while Simon is left at the rodeo to discover more kidnapped human livestock. Among them, Ennis (Sean Patrick Flanery) a one-armed Cowboy and Trish (Skyler Cooper) a gender fluid wrangler. The second act is set up, and these two groups do everything in their power to escape the psychotic rodeo workers bent on branding, roping, and slaughtering them all.

The performances are good across the board with standouts from Grassle as Lillian and Cooper as the gender fluid Trish. Grassle offers Lillian an independent senior vibe that could have easily bled into camp but is kept on course. Cooper’s Trish is a bold and courageous character whose fluidity is acknowledged, not played for laughs but as a major strength. Props to everyone that had a hand in making Trish a real, living breathing gender fluid character with depth and heroism.

Director Evan Cecil knows what he is doing here and why people would watch the movie in the first place…”

The script by Roberto Marinas keeps things tense and lean, getting right to the action as fast as possible. There’s also a subtext here that is not subtle on the joys of capturing, torturing, and killing the innocent and terrified be it animal or human. Starting with the beginning incident, we soon realize the irony of a film whose purpose is to feature the torture and theatrical slaughter for entertainment. Yet, for all this rather shrewd commentary, the explanations and probability behind the mayhem could use some work. But again, if you are thinking too much, you are missing the point I suppose.

Director Evan Cecil knows what he is doing here and why people would watch the movie in the first place. It delivers on the gore, the suspense, the torture, and still, we aren’t made to feel too bad about having fun with it. After all, this is horror, and horror’s job is to make us look at the darker aspects of things from a different perspective. As the two groups of survivors make their way through the film, we enjoy the fun in their peril, and that’s really the point, isn’t it?

Lasso (2018) Directed by Evan Cecil. Written by Roberto Marinas. Starring Lindsey Morgan, Andrew Jacobs, Karen Grassle, Travis Andre Ross, Sean Patrick Flanery, Skyler Cooper.

7 out of 10 stars

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