Vengeance serves as the catalyst of destruction in Ted Geoghegan’s (We Are Still Here) historical drama/horror hybrid.
A young Mohawk woman and her two lovers ( a completely polygamous relationship between an agent for the throne and a young Mohawk man) attempt to survive in the woods of New York in the latter days of the War of 1812. The young Brit is attempting to convince the neutral Mohawk people to join the cause of the crown and put an end to those pesky American radicals. The young Mohawk man, Calvin Two Rivers, is frustrated with his people standing to the side while Americans scalp and kill his tribe and foolishly wipes out an American fort during the night. A small group of American soldiers (who have committed their own share of atrocities) are now hunting down Calvin and anyone who stands with him.
When a tense stand-off leads to the death of the level headed American colonel, a real piece of shit takes over the band of tired soldiers and will stop at nothing to deal out his own form of vengeance on the unlikely trio. Losses tear through both sides and it becomes apparent that very few people will be alive by the end of the ordeal.
Geoghegan has this odd style he brings to his projects where an amazingly elaborate scenario unfolds in a completely down to earth way. Mohawk (as well as We Are Still Here) progresses naturally and may be off putting to some viewers accustomed to set piece cinema. I find it shockingly refreshing and his use of violence always hits harder because it’s placed within the context of the real world (no matter how far outside of that realm his scenario lands). It hits like a breath of fresh air.
The cast is mostly strong (there are some stiff line readers in the bunch), with Kaniehtiio Horn standing out as a believably bad ass (and justified) warrior and Jon Huber (WWEs Luke Harper) showcasing just how fine of an actor he is. Also, I’m always happy when Noah Segan shows up in a film and Ezra Buzzington makes for a fine villain (although some of his actions are understandable). The violence is brutal and when it strikes, it strikes like a well swung hammer. The forested location shooting is beautiful and contrasts perfectly with the savagery on display. There’s a strange supernatural angle that briefly peaks through but it’s well earned and shouldn’t throw the viewer too far off. It has its flaws but I have a feeling that repeat viewings will only serve to deepen my appreciation for the film 7/10