DAY OF THE STRANGER *** UK 2019 Dir: Tom Lee Rutter. 78 mins
FEAST FOR THE BEAST director Tom Lee Rutter wrote, produced, shot, edited, directed and worked on the FX for this diverting, trippy acid western, shot predominantly in the West Midlands. It is visually and thematically indebted to the enduring work of Messrs Eastwood, Jodorowsky and Leone. With appropriately grizzled dubbed dialogue, an amusing array of accents and scratches on the print for vintage ambience, it’s an engaging homage to the greats.
Bounty hunter Caine Farrowood (Dale Sheppard) is left for dead after a mission gone awry that kills his horse. Brain fogged by dehydration and dragging a corpse, he makes his way to the ranch of his boss (veteran actor Gary Shail, memorable as Oscar Drill in SHOCK TREATMENT) and deserts his pregnant wife (at home praying for his soul) for a job that could yield him substantial cash – but leads him into deeply weird territory. Ripe with portentous dialogue in the tradition of the movies it apes (“The majority of people’s lives ain’t nuthin’ but an illusion…”), this has a suitably quirky sense of humour (“This here rock is closed on Sundays”) but stays the right side of lapsing into outright parody. The narrative becomes increasingly elliptical and violent as it tracks its way to the inevitable bloodbath and, for this budget level, it has a fine combination of location filming, CG and practical make-up effects. The eerie, whistling Morricone-esque score by Craigus Berry and The Stained Glass Whispers also lends it lots of atmosphere for those in tune with its genre pastiche.
Review by Steven West
DAY OF THE STRANGER is available on Blu-ray here: