->''"It's lonely being a cannibal. Tough making friends."''

A drama/horror/black comedy released in 1999, written by Ted Griffin and directed by Antonia Bird. Starred Creator/GuyPearce, Creator/RobertCarlyle, Jeremy Davies, Jeffrey Jones, David Arquette, Creator/NealMcDonough.

Lieutenant Boyd, a soldier in the UsefulNotes/MexicanAmericanWar of the 1840s, has a freak-out when his commanding officer dies in front of him and decides on PlayingPossum. The Mexicans thus load him into a cartful of corpses and (for some reason) taken back to their base. Then some blood drips into Boyd's mouth, giving him an intense adrenaline rush during which he single-handedly captures the enemy command, winning the battle. But everyone realizes (most of) what happened when he throws up at the victory barbecue. He thus gets a MedalOfDishonor and a [[ReassignedToAntarctica Reassignment To Fort Spencer]], a rarely-visited ramshackle mountain pioneer stop in the [[MiddleOfNowhereStreet Middle Of Nowhere]] populated solely by [[RagtagBunchOfMisfits drunks, layabouts and crazies.]]

Boyd's just settled into his life of failure when a rambling loon by the name of Colqhoun stumbles in with a horror story; he was part of [[NoPartyLikeADonnerParty a party of six pioneers who found themselves trapped in a snowstorm. When they ran out of rations, they ate the pack animals. When those were gone, they ate their leather clothing. When those were gone, one of them starved to death. But instead of burying him... they ate him]]. A few weeks later, they ate the next one who died of starvation... and found themselves looking at each other oddly...

Colqhoun begs them to come rescue whoever may still be alive, and the seven residents of the fort agree, out of boredom as much as anything else. But when one of them is hurt, Colqhoun wakes him up licking the wound...

Essentially, it's a ''{{Wendigo}}'' story filmed with a morbid sense of humor about ManifestDestiny, IDidWhatIHadToDo, and the varied joys of BlackComedy. The soundtrack absolutely cements its ambiguous character, ranging from a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHVXAMVC53M carefree organ piece underpinned with a dissonant string part]], to a simple string dance piece which is played during a strangely funny murder scene.
!!This film includes examples of:

* TheAlcoholic: Major Knox.
* AmbiguousDisorder: Private Toffler
* AndThisIsFor: ... my horse, right after mentioning a murder.
* AntiVillain: [[spoiler: Col. Hart at the end.]]
* ArsonMurderAndLifeSaving: This is how Boyd earned the backhanded promotion that landed him at Fort Spencer.
* ArtisticLicenseGunSafety: Averted. ''Private'' Reich has to remind ''Captain'' Boyd not to point a loaded rifle at him. A nicely subtle way of reinforcing how useless Boyd is as a soldier.
* AuthorTract: The writer, the director, and the leading actor are vegetarians, and take every chance they get to show their disgust of meat. A constant theme is comparing the flesh of animals to the flesh of humans. However, [[TropesAreNotBad the honesty of that disgust enhances the horror beautifully]]. And, to be fair, that stew looks ''really good''.
* BeingEvilSucks: Boyd definitely thinks so [[spoiler: as does Hart in the end]]
* BlackComedy: The film is ambiguous in this regard.
* BlackDudeDiesFirst: The first member of Colqhoun's party to bite it in the flashback is the token black servant.
** Also George, a resident native, dies before any of the other (white) main characters.
*** Though it's worth pointing out that while George ''dies'' first, he's shot after another character has been stabbed in the gut. While the knife is still inside him. And another knife is in his back. [[spoiler: Almost an inversion, anyway, since Hart doesn't die.]]
* BlondGuysAreEvil: Reich isn't evil, but he is... unpleasant.
* BodyHorror: The scene in the pit involving Boyd's broken leg is rather painful to watch
* CaliforniaDoubling: Inverted. The Slovakian Tatra Mountains double ''for'' the Californian Sierra Nevadas.
* CannibalismSuperpower: In the film, the {{Wendigo}} myth is true; eating human flesh grants SuperStrength, a HealingFactor, and cures all diseases. It also [[HorrorHunger acts as a drug that makes heroin seem about as addictive as artificial sweetener.]]
** Ives also implies that cannibals become sexually potent, though that might just be him making up for lost time after regaining his health. He was in ''bad'' shape before he started eating people.
* CassandraTruth: Boyd ends up with this problem when he tries to warn the others about Ives.
* CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass: [[spoiler: Knox]] is said to be "stronger than he looked" but it doesn't do him much good. Note the use of past tense.
* DeadpanSnarker: Hart most of the time, though he's revealed to be more StepfordSnarker in the end
--> "My advice to you, don't get sick. I'd say don't eat but then again most of us have to"
* DirtyCoward: Boyd. Everybody knows it, including him. He only took the Mexican fort after PlayingPossum because some of his C.O.'s blood dripped into his mouth. But in the end, [[spoiler:he willingly dies, [[TakingYouWithMe taking Ives with him]].]]
* DownerEnding: But a ''hilarious'' downer ending, which, in this movie, is somehow possible.
-->'''Ives''': ''That was... '''really'''... sneaky.''
** With a touch of [[spoiler:DiedHappilyEverAfter - Boyd got [[ReassignedToAntarctica Reassigned To The Frontier]] because of his cowardice, becomes a cannibal because he's afraid to die, but in the end he willingly accepts death hoping to stop Ives' cannibal conspiracy. If he had only thrown out the "Stew a la Major Knox" beforehand...]]
* TheEndOrIsIt: At the end of the film, [[spoiler: the newly-arrived General Slauson greedily slurping up the "Stew a la Major Knox", thus becoming a cannibal and [[HereWeGoAgain starting the whole mess up again]].]]
* EvilCannotComprehendGood: More like "[[TheDeterminator Determinator]] Cannot Comprehend Coward". Ives is visibly shocked that Boyd would jump to seemingly certain death rather than stay and fight for his only real chance at survival. (Bear in mind that Boyd really ''was'' [[BetterToDieThanBeKilled committing suicide]] with that jump, and the fact that he lived was pure luck.)
* EvilTastesGood: Ives certainly thinks so.
* EvilRedhead: [[ExaggeratedTrope Exaggerated]] [[spoiler: when Hart turns wendigo he becomes younger and his hair goes from grey to red. When he dies it [[DyingAsYourself goes back to grey again]]]]
* FakeUltimateHero: Boyd gets a medal for [[PlayingPossum fainting bravely in the face of danger]].
* FauxAffablyEvil: Again, Ives, who manages to make Boyd look absolutely insane by virtue of being so damn convincingly charismatic to everyone else.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Colqhoun has a rosary wrapped around his hand when he arrives at the fort. [[spoiler: The same rosary can be seen in his flashbacks belonging to the woman that he claims to have left behind with Colonel Ives. This is the first sign that Colqhoun is not what he seems at all.]]
* HealingFactor: The effect of the {{Wendigo}}, but with the side effect of HorrorHunger.
* HeelFaceRevolvingDoor: [[spoiler: Colonel Hart, starts out as a KnightInSourArmor but turns cannibal when Ives brings him back from the dead before having a [[IncrediblyLamePun change of heart]] and asking Boyd to MercyKill him]]
* HemoErotic: Ives has a thing for blood
* HeWhoFightsMonsters: Referenced in the quote at the beginning of the movie. Relevant to [[spoiler: Boyd, who has to become a monster to defeat Ives.]]
* IndulgentFantasySegue: This is probably the only movie ever made where the protagonist fantasizes about eating David Arquette.
* JekyllAndHyde: [[spoiler: Colqhoun and Ives]] according to RobertCarlyle. [[spoiler: Apparently his behavior in front of the cave was his transforming from one to the other]]
* LetsFightLikeGentlemen: Well, not exactly fight, but Ives does give Toffler a sporting chance, telling him to run instead of simply killing him as he stood there whimpering in shock.
** It's combined with heavy MoodWhiplash due to [[SoundtrackDissonance the fast banjo flick playing in the background]].
* MadEye: Every time Ives is about to do something even more grotesque than normal, one eye half-closes and the other eye gets wider. When he's sane (or acting sane), they're both perfectly normal.
* MagicalNativeAmerican: Mostly averted. George and Martha do tell the cast about the Wendigo Myth, but the rest of the time spend time either caring for the horses and doing other chores (Martha) or getting stoned (George).
* MedalOfDishonor: Boyd gets one just before he gets ReassignedToAntarctica; ''everyone'' knows that his victory was due him PlayingPossum, and they really don't want him around.
* MildlyMilitary: The guys at Fort Spencer spend most of their time just kind of hanging out, eating, or getting stoned. Granted, there's not much better to do in the middle of nowhere, but still.
* MoodDissonance: Blood, murder, freezing weather, ambiguous moral decisions, character flaws, and... stoners. Comedy, drug humor, everybody here was ReassignedToAntarctica... but the emotional impact is unhindered.
* MoodWhiplash: We have TheReveal, wherein the party finds a cave full of bloody skeletons, [[spoiler: "reverend Colqhoun" turns out to be the BigBad,]] two guys die brutally; and it's immediately followed by Ives chasing Toffler around to silly banjo music.
* MrFanservice: Boyd, played by Guy Pearce. Also, the extremely-muscular Reich seems to have his shirt off ''a lot''.
* NewMeat: Boyd starts out like this, but unfortunately doesn't get any better, resulting in his reassignment.
* NoEscapeButDown: When Boyd is cornered by [[spoiler:Ives/Colqhoun]] at the cliff's top. He jumps, without '''any''' landing spot. [[spoiler:He survives, but his leg is badly broken.]] It's one of the film's more memorable scenes.
* OverDrawnAtTheBloodBank: The final fight was so over-the-top the production ''ran out of fake blood.''
* PeekabooCorpse: Visible to the audience before the characters notice them, which makes the shock feel a bit less cheap. [[spoiler: And there's a whole cave full! Wait a minute... One, two, three, four, five corpses with the meat stripped off... OhCrap! [[EurekaMoment There were six pioneers]]! [[TheReveal Colqhoun is the cannibal]]!]]
* RagtagBunchOfMisfits: The occupants of Fort Spencer. Contrary to the trope's general use, they don't really do so well.
* ReassignedToAntarctica: The basis for every lead character except the villain. Possibly related to the nature of Western expansion, which likely attracted those who wished to leave.
* ReassignmentBackfire: Subverted. Boyd is sent to Fort Spencer as a punishment for his cowardice, but, despite the fact that he gets better, pretty much [[KillEmAll everyone dies]] anyway.
* ScreamingWarrior: Private Reich, even in the first second you ever see him.
* ScrewThisImOuttaHere: [[spoiler: Martha]]
* ShownTheirWork: The movie is, on occasion, oppressively realistic in its portrayal of its mountainous, unpleasant terrain and the military of its time.
** It's with touch of RealLifeWritesThePlot - there were serious problems with weather during production. The constant dissonance between heavy snow, thaw and relatively high temperatures around Fort Spencer? It's all ThrowItIn.
%%* SinisterMinister: [[spoiler: Colqhoun.]]
* SnowMeansDeath: Sure, the trek into the mountains is dangerous, but it's really the cannibals you need to watch out for.
* SouthernGentleman: Major Knox
* SuicidalGotcha: Messy, and without the common convenient landing spot. Boyd actually jumps off a cliff, falls down through tree limbs and into a PitTrap, breaking the ever-loving crap out of his leg in the process. Also, [[spoiler: the end of the movie, where Boyd lures Ives into a bear trap, which kills them both.]]
* TakingYouWithMe: [[spoiler: Boyd comes to this conclusion]]
* TheStoner: "The over-medicated Private Cleaves".
* TeachHimAnger: Ives to Boyd, although it's less about anger and more about power and health. Which ends in [[spoiler: a very bloody PygmalionSnapback]].
* TookALevelInBadass: Boyd spends the entire film as the designated wimp (he even gets a medal of cowardice), until the last 3 scenes [[spoiler:when he decides to fight Ives, using all of his new cannibal superpowers]].
** In the backstory, Ives, who went from a tubercular, suicidal mess to a DiabolicalMasterMind MadeOfIron. And [[spoiler: Col. Hart, who, in his first scene, cracks walnut shells under a giant book, but in a later scene, is able to crush them with his bare hands.]] All through the magic of cannibalism.
* TrailersAlwaysSpoil: One of the biggest offenders of '99. Before even the lector starts to comment the film, we already see [[spoiler:Robert Carlyle's character as an inhabitant of Fort Spencer]]. Then half way through we also learn that [[spoiler:Jeffrey Jones' character is a cannibal, Major Knox is killed and turned into a stew ''and'' Guy Pearce will fight to death with Robert Carlyle]]. And just to add insult to the injury, [[spoiler: Robert Carlyle is shown in his Colqhoun persona, pointing a gun at Jeremy Davies]]. The trailer spoiled ''every single twist'' aside from the final scene.
* TrappedBehindEnemyLines: Boyd at the beginning of the movie. He, however, doesn't exactly [[PlayingPossum fight his way out]].
* UnreliableNarrator: [[spoiler: Which part of Colqhoun's story was a fabrication and which was truth? We know that Ives ate some people and that he lived in that cave. But what about all the details?]]