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Into the Badlands ()

directed by
featuring Bruce Dern, Mariel Hemingway, Dylan McDermott, Helen Hunt, Lisa Pelikan

The bizarre career of New Zealand filmmaker Sam Pillsbury had veered from the sci-fi weirdness of The Quiet Earth to the Cajun spice of Zandalee to the mawkish Free Willy 3 without ever really demonstrating a consistent vision. This made-for-cable horror-western anthology is the most confused work Pillsbury has ever done, starring Bruce Dern as a bounty hunter who gets frostbitten, cuts off his own toe, and talks to an outlaw's corpse. His attempt to track down the outlaw is the rough link behind this senseless mess adapted from some fairly good short stories. It still might have some allure for a surprising cast including Andrew Robinson (the killer from Dirty Harry), Helen Hunt, and Dylan McDermott. The most annoying segment has Mariel Hemingway as an eccentric woman who may or may not be under siege by wolves in her isolated home on the prairie. It's sometimes reminiscent of Mad at the Moon, an even more annoying prairie-set wolf tale. For genre completists, Lisa Pelikan from Ghoulies shows up, and co-writer Dick Beebe went on to pen the superior remake of House on Haunted Hill and the uneven Book of Shadows: The Blair Witch Project 2. Robert Firsching, Rovi Hide synopsis

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