PRODUCED AND DISTRIBUTED BY THE DAILY WIRE
COVERAGE BY FRUMKOID
Some years ago, Gina Carano retweeted a meme which, in less critical times, might have gotten her some harsh responses. Instead, it got her ass kicked off Disney's hit Star
Wars show THE MANDALORIAN. While TERROR ON THE PRAIRIE doesn’t restore proper balance to Ms. Carano’s career, it does nonetheless put on the brakes a bit, and stands up in her defense, something that was proudly flaunted at the film’s Nashville premiere screening, and two hours later at the gala After Party.
Fortunately, the film is good, and Ms. Carano is good in it, and perhaps there was even some
subtext to be found in the film’s narrative that reflected on her past predicament, not so much
that it became the film’s text, but just enough that it may have brought a scosche of
redemptive perspective to her real-life drama.
The Daily Wire is the entity producing and distributing TERROR ON THE PRAIRIE, and they are a company with a boldly defined attitude. Going straight to streaming as they do, public opinion and packed theaters are not part of their business concerns, and so they have used their ethical stance as part of their brand. Producer Dallas Sonnier introduced the screening in front of the playful crowd by emphasizing the importance of Ms. Carano’s part. Then he summoned her to join him, which she did to say a few modest words of thanks.
I fondly remember her terrific fight scenes in 2012’s HAYWIRE, having read that director Steven Soderbergh had been looking for an example of the kind of on-screen fight he envisioned but had never seen. He kept coming up empty until someone steered him towards DARKER THAN AMBER, a 1970 classic example of cinema violence that provided the role model he needed. I’m a huge fan of AMBER’s climactic fist fight, and enjoyed Soderbergh’s manifestation of it in his film.
Now here Carano is again, years later, with no fight scenes to measure her past achievements
against, playing a disgruntled prairie settler/mother who desperately wants to go back East.
Grim in the extreme, she carries the film, doing battle against both the wintry physical elements and the barren emotional requirements. With her husband in town to stock up on provisions, she invites four vaguely threatening riders (the length to which shots are held emphasize the uneasiness) into her home for a meal - an apparent courtesy one is expected to afford travelers in such perilous milieus, but having let them in, she slowly realizes that they are not at all what they seem. A revelation of long simmering revenge rises to the surface, following which there are some pretty severe narrative twists which I did not see coming.
There is also some toying with Western film conventions, such as god knows how many rounds of bullets are fired from half a dozen characters’ weapons without a single one of them
sustaining a wound. I have a feeling that this unlikely aberration was probably carefully
researched by screenwriter Josiah Nelson but, given a hundred years of absorbed Hollywood
movie watching, it just didn’t feel right.
Playing the bible-spouting lead villain, Nick Searcy is quietly riveting in a role that requires a
certain degree of sympathy, tricky to deliver since his character also indulges in on-screen
pastimes such as scalping presumed enemies. I liked him at one point referring to “…the tyrant
Lincoln.” It said a lot about the character without having to say a lot more. I bet Nelson was
thrilled at stumbling across that reference.
THE VIP AFTER PARTY
The Daily Wire film company is based in Nashville, and their TERROR ON THE PRAIRIE After
Party was a complete blast. Held at the Harpeth Hotel in Franklin, the circulating canape-plates were flowing with tasty delights, while on the tables were succulent selections of cheeses and meats, as well as stacked high mini-burgers. Add several bars strategically placed to keep us in good moods and you get the picture.
The cast and crew were very much in attendance, (you could tell that from the film’s end
credits – every time a name would appear, there would be a pocket of hearty applause from a
different area in the darkened proscenium) all of them pleased with what they’d wrought. The
party attendees were a handsome and gorgeous lot. One thing I noticed, and I have no idea
whether genetic make-up in Tennessee is of a different component than elsewhere, but there
were at least three, maybe four, women in attendance who were over six feet tall. One was the mother of the young actor (Rhys Becker) playing Carano’s son in the film. Another was
Alexandria Basso, the guest of Casting Director David Guglielmo.
I was introduced to Amanda Presmyk, who had orchestrated the entire evening. She did a
bang-up job, not only with the party itself, but even with the tickets and invitations. (On the
invitation she suggested that the dress code was ‘Premiere Chic’. I had no earthly idea what
that meant, which only testifies to how behind the times I must be. Everyone looked great,
however, so at least they must have understood.) The cumulative human beauty on display is
always part of the charm of these affairs, and so it was that night, the red carpet aflow with
The assembled glitterati schmoozed and boozed from 9:00 until Midnight. My wife and I had a
great time, but scooted out before dessert, if there was one, and if there was one, it better not
have been chocolate mousse!