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Directed and written by Ehrland Hollingsworth.
Starring Brian Krause, Jamie Bernadette, Betsy Sligh, Cavan Tonascia, Dallas Page, Mike Markoff, Mike Ferguson, Greg Kriek, Scot Scurlock, Mark Madeo.
Former outlaw Robert (Brian Krause) has settled down with his beautiful wife Beth (Jamie Bernadette) and his two kids Irene (Betsy Sligh) and Brian (Cavan Tonascia). But Robert’s past has come back to haunt him as the gang Robert used to rob banks with return and lay siege to his home, demanding dirty money they believe Robert has hidden inside. This leaves Robert and his family to fight for their lives against these bloodthirsty outlaws.
HONESTEAD kind of advertises itself as a horror Western, but it’s really just a hard-edged Western film. I’m ok with that. Had this been a movie set in modern times, it would be considered a home invasion movie and the violence is quite potent, so I think it definitely has horrific elements. Most horror Westerns incorporate some kind of supernatural element, but this one doesn’t. Still, I found it to be a solid low budget western and we don’t get enough of decent westerns these days.
This is because HOMESTEAD has a solid cast to tell its story. Brian Krause is best known for SLEEPWALKERS and maybe RETURN TO THE BLUE LAGOON or his stint on CHARMED. But here he delivers a nice grizzled cowboy role as he tries to be a caring father and family man though it’s not exactly in his nature. It’s a well-rounded character and Krause is believable in it. Jamie Bernadette doesn’t have a lot to work with here. She’s the typical good natured woman who feels hurt that Robert hasn’t told her about his past. Still, she’s offers up a key role. But the real standout is little Besty Sligh as Irene, Robert’s tomboy daughter who is a sure-shot with a gun and as tough as her paw. This little girl is a badass and really shines as the character you want to see more of in this film. Sligh is confident in her delivery. She’s the breakout star of the film and steals every scene she’s in. The rest of the cast are decent too as each of the scallywags who lay besiege the home mainly because they are made up of character actors who all look and act differently. These are no generic black hats falling down in sequence as the good guy blasts his six shooter. They each have a character moment. They’re not full characters on screen, but it really feels like they all have come up with a backstory for their characters even though they may or may not be able to have it show up on camera. It makes a difference and gives each a little something to feel about by the audience, whether it’s good or bad, and that makes them standout wonderfully.
The action is pretty bloody and tactile as well. This is a basically “defending what’s your’s” style film and the family does everything they can punching, shooting, and scraping their way towards survival against these cowboy hatted monsters outside. I don’t want to oversell this one. It’s story is simple and been told before. The setting is minimal. And the scope pretty much doesn’t range past one home and a family in danger for one long night. Still, it makes do well with what its got and served as a competent, low budget, timewaster of a Western flick. Seems like that’s exactly what it set out to be and it works. Recommended if you’re like me and miss the hard-edged Western. I’m happy to have seen this one.
How does it compare to Terror on the Prairie, which I quite enjoyed?
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I don’t think I saw that one. I’ll check it out soon. Homestead was not one of those epic westerns. It’s just a low stakes, low budget one. But decently done.
Terror on the Prairie is also a very modestly budgeted film, although the gorgeous mountains and winter setting is first class. The story is very similar, with a very convincing Gina Carano as the wife. It’s streaming on Amazon.