The modern day human has a pretty nice set up. That’s to say that all the hard work has been done for us, and all we have to do is be born, live our lives and enjoy the fruits of the labour of a lot of dead men and women who carved out the towns and cities we grew up in and made them successful. The harsh weather conditions that we complain about (and I’m talking about the whole British this winter’s quite nippy moan fest, not the holy tsunami my house is gone situation.) is quite tame, when you’re sitting pretty in a nice cosy house with central heating, a fridge full of eats and reality shows full of people you can judge to your heart’s content on the telebox.
Our ancestors had to brave the scary wilderness, build their own houses and then pray that the season’s worth of crops they’d toiled over night and day wouldn’t fail, otherwise come winter they’d be starving to death. You were totally reliant on the whims of nature and had to work yourself to death just to be able to live a little, and the history of the American Pioneers is rife with tales of whole settlements succumbing to the elements while trying to build lives in this new world.
One of the most legendary stories to come out of this particular era was that of the Donner Party, who, while making the journey by wagon trail from Springfield, Illinois, to Independence, Missouri, became trapped by snow; and as their group died off due to disease and hunger, the remaining members resorted to eating the dead flesh of their loved ones to ensure their own survival.
It’s a sad, fact that this sort of thing has happened much more than we’d like to admit, and this was a long time before good therapy was anywhere near developed. Being alive isn’t worth much when you’ve shared deep and meaningful conversations with your dinner beforehand.
Just ask Nando Parrado (Ethan Hawke played this hungry Hector in Alive!).
Donner Pass is very loosely based on the tale of the Donner party, although in this version George Donner, ate the remaining party alive and the blood of live victims, made him into a kind of crazed zombie/vampire hybrid, so, take it with a pinch of salt. Cut to, many years later, a group of just awful, teenagers come to stay at a cabin near Donner Pass where they plan to party and be terrible people together, until a killer strikes and the group have to defend themselves against the possible vampire/zombie thing of Donner himself.
Considering the actual premise for this made me cringe internally, the film wasn’t too bad at all. The actors were able, if not great, the cinematography was decent enough for a low budget horror, and there was even a small nod to the rape/revenge genre that impressed me, by not being too salacious. It’s mindless, blood spattered fun, and I’d recommend it to anyone who doesn’t take their horror viewing too seriously. It did have a decent soundtrack to boot, and in particular the main song by Orenda Fink was worth watching the film for alone.
Donner Pass supplies you with lots of blood on the snow, gore a plenty and the obligatory nubile, white, blonde, slut character, getting her kit of just because she doesn’t hate her body yet (If anyone knows a thing or two about the art of slut shaming, it’s the purveyors of the low budget horror movie, for sure.), so you can’t ask for much more than that.
Well you could, but you sure as hell wont get it here.