Donner Party Trailer Tastefully Finds Slasher Pic in Historic Tragedy


Heading straight to video at the end of the month, The Donner Party features Crispin Glover in the latest cinematic recounting of one of the worst frontier tragedies of the 19th century. Except as a new trailer attests, this one's got an entirely unique, fresh angle for the 21st century. Or at least it's being sold that way -- and not necessarily in a good way.

I'm not going to get my dudgeon up about this, but as a native Californian, I would just like to say that I still get creeped out driving over Donner Summit on my way to and from Reno. At that elevation, the lake below -- near which 14 snowbound pioneers died while awaiting rescue by a hiking party (among which another 12 died) -- looks like a black, open mouth that would swallow the cosmos were it not embedded in the Earth. Boaters cruise its surface during summer months, not far from where surviving party members cannibalized the dead when their expired oxen had run out. The landscape idles there, haunted and lush with trees preserving its long, awful memory. It didn't look like hell 150 years ago as that wagon party ate its fallen, and it doesn't look like hell today. But it might as well have been, like the sites of every other American tragedy where souls were ripped from the very real dead.

Having said that: Hey look, now they've made a movie about of it, selling it like a B-horror slasher effort in the snow. The blood dripping from the last couple letters is a nice touch, as is the climactic disclaimer "Based on a True Story." Yes. Yes, it is a true story. And it sucked.

VERDICT: Um, no.


  • Victor Ward says:

    Personally, I can't wait for the follow-up: Wrong Turn: Trail of Tears.

  • Nonnette says:

    "The latest cinematic recounting"?! WTF?! It's the first, unless you count two made-for-TV flicks and Ric Burns' documentary.

  • TheAnswer says:

    First, you should read up on your history a bit before writing reviews. Seriously. Second, a film based on a serial killer is far worse than a tale of survival. Try renting Dahmer sometime, thats only about a guy who murdered people, then ate them.