Senior citizens have to stay active in order to keep their health. A day at the rodeo. What could be more entertaining and wholesome than that? What if the rodeo in question is run by a band of killers just waiting to capture their prey like the steers they rope in the ring? All that in mind, Epic Pictures and Dread Central Presents Lasso, a film that puts the fear back into the rodeo.
Directed by Evan Cecil (Wives with Knives series, Sex Sent Me to the Slammer series), Lasso hit On Demand everywhere as of Tuesday, November 13, 2018. Written by Roberto Marinas (Headgame 2018), the story follows The Hacket Rodeo Hour; a fun destination with authentic cowboys and carnival games out in the middle of nowhere. All run by a former rodeo champion, Hacket (Thomas Cokenias: Fruitvale Station 2013, Man from Reno 2014).
Kit (Lindsey Morgan: General Hospital series, The 100 2018) is in charge of the Encore tours for Seniors. Kit has her hands full not only with the seniors but with her less than enthusiastic helper, Simon (Andrew Jacobs: Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones 2014, The Wrong Boyfriend 2015). Simon is sulking after he was shown up on one of the carnival games by the cowboy, Brodeo (Travis Andre Ross: Hemingway & Gellhorn 2012, Major Crimes 2012). Kit instructs him to watch out for Lillian (Karen Grassie: Little House on the Prairie series, Wyatt Earp 1994), a sassy senior who has liquor stashed in a fake cell phone.
The group watches the show. The rodeo queen, Rosheen (Heather Mignon), being crowned. The one-armed cowboy, Ennis (Sean Patrick Flanery The Boondock Saints: 1999, Dexter series) rides a bucking horse, and the strong woman, Trish (Skyler Cooper: Hero Mars 2013, The Wright Murders 2014) speed stacks bales of hay. An all around fun day. That is until the rodeo is over. Simon is sent back to find a missing hairbrush of Lillian’s. It is only then that a black-outfitted cowboy appears using his spiked lasso to begin to terrorize and kill whoever is in his path. Ennis, Rosheen, and Trish are all also caught up in the mix. It seems that everyone associated with the Hacket Rodeo are either killers or being hunted. There is no safe place.
A wholesome day of fun indeed. Now the group, plus the others, have to try to find a way to fight bloodthirsty cowboys in an arena meant to entertain. The group is now the animals pinned and hunted for the entertainment of their soon-to-be killers. Who, if anyone, gets out alive?
Lasso can be summed up fairly easily. Body count. The viewer never really gets a breath before the next body falls. To the credit of the creators, just when the viewer might feel as though another death would be overkill, the next death is even more unique. No two deaths are the same, even if the tool for murder is. Lasso absolutely makes a statement in the world of Slasher films. A lasso, branding iron, and cattle prod are just a few of the tools the cowboys use to kill their prey. The deaths become deliciously satisfying from the varying methods and realistic blood spewing everywhere.
Flanery is a stand out with his one-armed cowboy, Ennis. He is the ideal, typical cowboy. Overly positive, tough as nails, and compassionate. Only having the one arm does not make him any less capable. There is never a moment that his character believes he cannot do something because he is disabled. If anything, the more he is attacked and the more blood that is shed, Ennis somehow gains strength. A smile on his face and a can-do attitude, Flanery’s Ennis is just one of the likable characters in this film.
The most disconcerting aspect of the film, aside from all the murders, is how Simon is looked at to save everyone. Simon is shown early on to have a giant chip on his shoulder. He does not want to be there or bothered with anything. He has an air of arrogance, yet is clearly a very weak individual. Even the physically tough as nails Trish bows to whatever Simon says. The kid clearly has to go through it to find his own strength, but it is highly unbelievable that all the other capable people around him fighting for their lives would look to him for leadership and comfort. He is the weakest of the lot, yet they all rally around him.
Lasso leaves you with questions as to why exactly these cowboys are on a killing spree. It is not something that lingers, though. Lasso is a thoroughly fun gore-fest of unique murders. Picking apart the various method of killing would only deprive the viewer of the pleasure of seeing it unfold on the screen. Taking the film as it is, any viewer who loves a large body count will be more than pleased. It is for this reason that Cryptic Rock gives Lasso 3 out of 5 stars.