The Donner Party

09/10/2015 21:52

Film: The Donner Party

Year: 2009

Director: T.J. Martin

Writer: T.J. Martin

Starring: Crispin Glover, Clayne Crawford and Michele Santopietro



In this film is about The Donner Party tragedy. We are given some information in titles of where they’re going, where they came from and what has happened to them. We begin with them already trapped in the pass, snowed in and running low on food.

We have one man, played by Clayne Crawford, who has just killed a bear and brought the food back. He keeps half for him and his family; while the other half goes to the man he borrowed the rifle from, the leader played by Crispin Glover.

The meat given to Glover is soon gone and he decides to create a smaller group from the people and to go California and try to bring back a rescue party. A few people also show up and we learn that the Spanish-American War has broken out and all the able-bodied men are fighting there, meaning no rescue party is coming.

The group of people set out for California. They don’t have much food and what they have runs out. Glover comes up with the plan that they will begin to kill each other and eat that person to make it. Crawford disagrees with doing this until the last of his bear is gone and then he does it out of necessity. Can the group make it to California before the cold, weather and hunger kill the people in camp?

Now I heard this film is not historically accurate. That personally bothers me since the film makes it sound like this is what really happened. Now with that out of the way, I will actually talk about the film as a story.

With that being said, there isn’t much here. The extent of the character depth is that many of them start to become crazy as the film extends on, understandable for the fact that they are malnourished and freezing. I didn’t feel I connected with any of the characters outside of Crawford and that was minimal there. I believe if the film would of delved more into the characters and the stories instead of focusing less on the cannibalism that they did as they traveled, it might have been better. For example: staying in the camp and having the cannibal seem more realistic. Instead the film has the person killed, and then we see the people eating. I personally feel a person would last longer than a day.

I wouldn’t recommend seeing this film; it is boring, not historically accurate and doesn’t seem all that realistic. The only redeeming qualities are seeing the characters sink into madness as they eat each other, but even that is a bit weak.


My Rating: 5 out of 10