LASSO Review: This Is Perfectly Enjoyable Nonsense

Very little in this movie makes sense. Just go with it.

Over the years, I realized something about myself when it came to B-horror movies - I will enjoy and even defend them, regardless of their faults, as long as they are committed to delivering the movie you probably imagined in your head when you heard the concept. It's why I struggle with a lot of the Syfy movies I've seen: they have insane and seemingly can't miss junk concepts, but only end up offering a fraction of their goofy potential. Lasso, on the other hand, gives you everything you can presumably hope for when you hear the plot: a group of senior citizens (led by a pair of more target audience-friendly 20somethings) visit a rodeo that turns out to be run by a bunch of rejects from the Hostel movies. Why they're killing their customers is never fully explained (their Yelp page must be disastrous), but it's of no concern to me and anyone else that heard that story pitch and thought "I hope this means someone is branded like a cow!"

Spoiler: someone is indeed branded like a cow. Throughout the film's slightly bloated 97 minute runtime, pretty much every rodeo/farm implement you can think of gets used to kill or at least main someone - a whip, a rope, a cattle prod, etc. We even get the glorious sight of two hero characters using one of those gigantic crosscut saws to cut a bad guy in half. Killers and heroes alike wear cowboy hats, ride horses, etc. - the concept is thin and silly, but they milk it - and its rather novel setting - for all they're worth, and I have to appreciate that. I also have to appreciate the gonzo idea of letting a bus full of "active seniors" serve as a primary source of the body count - maybe it's less sad to think about someone in their 70s being murdered when they've presumably already lived a pretty full life, unlike the usual college aged kids who get offed in these things? 

Don't worry, there are younger victims as well. Even more puzzling than the rodeo staff's decision to start murdering their customers is the fact that they also go after the people who won the contests they held that day, including Sean Patrick Flanery as a one-armed bull rider. Flanery's character, along with Heather Mignon and Skyler Cooper (winners of the beauty contest and hay-stacking competition, respectively) would presumably be noticed as missing and it wouldn't take much detective work to realize their shared connection as "people who were seen by a large crowd at the rodeo, where those old folks also disappeared", but the movie is just so earnestly insane - and relatively fast paced compared to a number of its peers - that I didn't really mind that the villains' MO made zero sense. Like, they don't even really wait long after the events to start killing everyone seemingly because they were simply too slow to file out. It'd be like if the cleaning staff of a movie theater decided to kill everyone who stuck around for the credits - how are they doing this on the regular?

Naturally, after a number of the good guys are gruesomely killed (including a tree kill that tops Friday the 13th Part VII, in my opinion), our survivors start fighting back, even if they are severely injured. I wouldn't dream of spoiling specifically what happens to Flanery's character over the course of the evening, but normally you have to be an undead killer like Jason Voorhees to undergo this much physical trauma and keep on fighting. Even the old folks get in on the action - Little House on the Prairie's Karen Grassle is in her mid 70s, but that doesn't stop her from putting up more of a fight than most of her younger co-stars. As for the villains, they're kind of anonymous - there's like six or seven of them, but only two really stand out: Hacket (Thomas Cokenias), the owner of the rodeo, and the hilariously named Brodeo (Travis Andre Ross), who is introduced taunting male hero Simon (Andrew Jacobs) over his inability to beat the strongman game (prompting the strange retort "muscle fucker" from Simon) and proves to be the hardest of the villains to dispatch, mainly because he keeps taking horse steroids as he pursues his victims.

I see far too many horror movies on VOD that leave me with no impression whatsoever; they're always chasing trends (can't wait for all the Halloween knockoffs, again) and/or biting off more they can chew with their concepts, so when I see one that makes my eyes widen and has me occasionally wondering if the filmmakers have ever met any other human beings, I take a liking to it. Is Lasso a "good movie" in the traditional sense? Not really; the acting's often bad, the plot makes almost no sense, and there isn't much suspense to the proceedings since the villains don't seem to be trying to be discrete. It barely even has a narrative - whenever someone is killed they cut to another area where one of the heroes is running or hiding until they too encounter another evil rodeo dude, and the cycle repeats until no one's left. But I was never bored, and I can't think of a BETTER horror movie where the staff of a rodeo murders a dozen of its customers for no discernible reason.  And how many horror movies do you see that might draw the ire of the International Network for Prevention of Elder Abuse? If you, like me, have suffered through far too many anonymous horror movies that have left no impression, you owe it to yourself to give a look to one that at least had the good sense to be somewhat insane.

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