A 2009 independent Western horror film which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival before being released on DVD. The plot concerns a family of Dakota Territory settlers who are viciously attacked and kidnapped from their home. When Irish immigrant Fergus Coffey returns to find his intended bride missing, he believes the family to have been taken by Indians and assembles a posse to rescue them. However, they soon discover that rapacious natives would be a kindness compared to the inhuman horror lurking beneath the ground.
Not to be confused with The Borrowers.
- An Arm and a Leg: Happens to Parcher while he's being eaten alive.
- And I Must Scream: A variation. The victims are not trapped forever, but they are almost completely paralyzed. They are apparently conscious the entire time, but cannot sleep, move, or speak. They just lay there in the soil, feeling their bodies rot, until the Burrowers return for them.
- Anyone Can Die: In order of death, Mary-Anne Stewart, John Clay, Dobie Spacks, Will Parcher, Callaghan, Faith.
- Army Scout: A Native American scout who cannot accurately translate another Indian's language. When the imprisoned Indian taunts him, he tortures the prisoner.
- Attempted Rape: Dobie Spacks is about to put the moves on a paralyzed and helpless Mary-Anne when the creatures cut the attempt short.
- Blood Knight: Henry Victor, who only wants to kill as many Indians as he possibly can.
- Cavalry Officer: Perhaps the most brutally sadistic and completely oblivious Cavalry Officer since Custer himself.
- The Dandy: Henry Victor is a psychotic breed of dandy, with his ridiculous moustache, moustache comb and tobacco pouch made from a Native American's scrotum.
- Downer Ending: The entire posse dies save Coffey, Mary-Anne was dead (or at least rotting alive) from the beginning, and the two Native Americans who know the creatures' weakness are ignorantly lynched by Henry Victor, who faces no consequences for dooming future victims and waltzes off with that smug smile on his face, none the wiser.
- Foreshadowing: The hymm sung near the beginning; Alas! and did my Savior bleed, And did my Sovereign die? Would He devote that sacred head, For such a worm as I?
- Gaia's Vengeance: A very mild example. The creatures wouldn't normally interact with humans much, but their usual diet of buffalo has been all but wiped out by humanity. As a result, they've started snacking on the next most plentiful and widespread source of easy-to-kill meat.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Parcher and Clay are long-time partners.
- Hope Spot: When the Ute seem to have a method of killing the Burrowers and when Coffey goes for help. Both times, the hope is quickly and brutally destroyed.
- Indian Maiden: Averted. She is helpful, but not a romanticized character or a love interest.
- Ironic Nursery Tune: The song over the ending credits. Particularly unsettling is the lyric, 'go to sleep, you little baby...' considering what the creatures do to people.
- It's All About Me: Henry Victor loves being in charge, and won't hesitate to remind others that he's the one with the authority.
- Nice Hat: Several characters. Coffey especially has a nice bowler hat.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Coffey is not an action hero gunslinger, and this point is hammered home when he fucks up in a big enough way to get John Clay killed.
- Noble Savage: Averted. Even the Indians do some pretty terrible things.
- Non-Malicious Monster: Despite some of the taglines, the creatures aren't evil. They're just animals.
- Nothing Is Scarier: The Burrowers aren't seen in full until the climax.
- Our Vampires Are Different: The creatures are not vampires. However, they do share some vampiric traits such as a weakness for sunlight.
- Psycho Party Member: At times, most obviously when an Indian wants to leave an infected victim behind, and the victim flips out and threatens to kill everyone.
- Politically Correct History: Averted. The characters aren't overt with their racism, but they use casually racist language. Most characters refer to Indians as 'skins' and a prominent black character is saddled with the nickname 'walnut'. Only Irish Fergus Coffey refers to him by his real name, and this is due to the kinship he feels with him since they've both faced prejudice in America.
- Sanity Slippage: As Parcher descends further into paralysis, he becomes more and more unhinged.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Coffey's love interest and the other missing women are discovered to have died, most likely at the beginning of the film thus rendering the entire heroic quest meaningless. Every named character dies except for Fergus Coffey and the utterly psychotic Henry Victor...who, by the way, is responsible for the deaths of two Indians (execution) and Callahan (by botching an attempt to amputate a leg that likely didn't need it). Worse, with the two Indians dead, their secret method for killing the Burrowers seems to have been lost forever. It's deeply implied that the Burrower's attacks will continue and nothing has really changed.
- Super-Persistent Predator: The Burrowers are relentless in hounding humans, chasing them a great distance, long after it's clear their prey is fighting back. Probably justified that with the buffalo gone, they're starving.