- Awesome Music: Michael Nyman's score, particularly when Boyd and Reich are chasing Colqhoun/Ives through the woods. The track title on the CD is literally "Let's Go Kill That Bastard."
- Complete Monster: Colonel Ives is a cannibalistic soldier who learns of the Wendigo myth and decides to try it because he's dying and has nothing to lose. The myth was true; Ives is cured of his tuberculosis and depression. He takes a wagon train into the mountains and leads it astray so he can slaughter and eat everyone else. To kick off the main plot, he assumes the identity of "Reverend Colqhoun" and lures more soldiers to the spot so he can eat them too, sadistically chasing one terrified man down before gutting him with a knife. When he returns to the fort, having killed everyone who could recognize him except for Captain John Boyd, Ives plans to encourage Boyd down his (already started) path to cannibalism and therefore have someone to help him get away with killing people. Revealing his intent to create a cannibal ruling class with himself at the top as a messianic figure, Ives is a representation of the predatory evils of Manifest Destiny and the savagery in human nature.
- Critical Dissonance: Audiences (the few who actually saw it when it came out) generally rated the film higher than critics did. Roger Ebert was a notable exception among critics for giving the film a mostly positive review.
- Crosses the Line Twice: Blood pours down the screen, people do despicable things, yet one can't help but think, "why is this so damn funny?" The secret's in the score.
- "White man eats the body of Jesus Christ every Sunday."
- Faux Symbolism: Theres a lot of Christ references surrounding Ives which don't make a lot of sense and not even the director or the actor can satisfactorily explain. For example:
- One of the Magical Native Americans makes a tenuous connection made between cannibalism and communion when asked about the Wendigo myth; inferring that both their cultures see consuming human flesh as a means of gaining strength/health/life, but the "savages" are the ones who see it as a curse as opposed to a blessing.White man eats the body of Jesus Christ every Sunday.
- Ives spends the climax with the sign of the cross made in blood on his forehead for no reason and with no explanation. If anything, it symbolises exactly the opposite of what Ives would like to say about himself; A visible cross on the forehead evokes Ash Wednesday, when the sign reminds the bearer that they are made from dust and will die.
- One of the Magical Native Americans makes a tenuous connection made between cannibalism and communion when asked about the Wendigo myth; inferring that both their cultures see consuming human flesh as a means of gaining strength/health/life, but the "savages" are the ones who see it as a curse as opposed to a blessing.
- Funny Moments:
Ives: That is sooooo annoying. (Places his coat on the dying Col. Hart) Run. (Cue goofy banjo music)
- HE WAS LIIIIICKING ME!
- Ives steals a gun and tries to shoot Toffler with it... only for him to realize it was out of ammo.
- Ives corners Boyd on a cliff, and Boyd, rather than fight Ives, jumps off the cliff. Ives' response is one of sheer bewilderment.
- Half of everything Col. Hart says is hilarious, thanks to him being a Deadpan Snarker par excellence.
- Our introduction to Cleaves and Reich.
- Ho Yay: Boyd and Ives got a lot of it, especially since there's no other love interest in sight. And they end up dying lying on top of each other in a forced embrace...yowza.
- Doubles as Foe Yay
- To a lesser extent, Reich towards Toffler.
- Jerkass Woobie: Boyd is a Dirty Coward, but his blatant PTSD, the suffering he goes through throughout the film, and how everyone in the camp with the exception of Col. Hart hates him, its hard not to feel bad for him.
- Magnificent Bastard: Ives, again. It's hard not to love the guy.
- Special Effect Failure: When the party is heading to the cave, there's a shot of them walking through the woods, where Colqhoun slips on a patch of snow. The patch then lifts off the ground and slides a few inches, as it's actually a swatch of cotton. This effect is only really used for wide or fleeting shots, though, and every other shot with characters walking through the snow has much more realistic effects.
YMMV / Ravenous (1999)