In “Organ Trail,” a title dripping with blood and intrigue, viewers might initially expect a frontier tale reminiscent of “Bone Tomahawk” or a horror-infused adaptation of the video game of the same name. However, this film takes a different path, blending elements of a revenge-themed western with occasional bursts of brutal violence and horror.
The story revolves around the Lawson family, consisting of Abby (Zoé De Grand Maison), her father (Mather Zickel), mother (Lisa LoCicero), and brother (Lukas Jann). While journeying through the wilderness, they stumble upon the aftermath of a gruesome massacre, encountering a lone survivor named Cassidy (Olivia Grace Applegate) who is crucified by arrows through her hands. Their good deed turns dark when the perpetrators, led by the ruthless Logan (Sam Trammell), return to wreak havoc, leaving only Abby and Cassidy alive. The rest of the film centers on their fight for survival and Abby’s determination to rescue their only remaining family member, their horse.
Directed by Michael Patrick Jann, primarily known for his work in comedies, “Organ Trail” faces some challenges, particularly in pacing. The nearly two-hour runtime could have been significantly shorter, with several scenes extending longer than necessary. The film’s scenic shots of the snowy Montana wilderness, though breathtaking, occasionally disrupt the narrative flow.
Despite its pacing issues, “Organ Trail” has its strengths. The action sequences are well-executed, and the gruesome killings, whether played for shock or dark humor, feature impressive practical effects. However, the film’s reliance on sadistic violence doesn’t fully transform it into a horror film, lacking the genuine scares that define the genre.
The film’s final moments introduce a seemingly indestructible villain, but it comes too late in the story to truly earn the “horror western” label. Instead, it serves as a reminder of the film’s missed potential to be a compelling, R-rated western reminiscent of classics from the 1970s.
“Organ Trail” offers a mix of western and horror elements, but its pacing issues and late-game attempts at horror may leave some viewers wanting more. With tighter editing and a clearer marketing approach, it could have been a satisfying throwback to gritty westerns of the past. Nevertheless, it remains an interesting addition to the genre for those willing to embark on its journey.