The Western genre has provided plenty of material for filmmakers over the years. The principle of an isolated community try to form its own identity and laws amidst the struggle for survival has given rise to some of cinema's greatest stories.
Nevertheless, in comparison to fifty or sixty years ago there seems to be a lot less Westerns for cinema goers to enjoy. One type of film that does not seem to have had that problem over the past decade is the post-apocalyptic genre. It is interesting to note the similarities between films like Meek's Cutoff and films like The Road, 28 Days Later, or the last TV show I reviewed, The Walking Dead.
Meek's Cutoff is a film which sees a small community of settlers in America trying to make a new life for themselves in the West Coast. They have hired a bearded, straight-talking man called Stephen Meek (Bruce Greenwood) to be their guide. He claims to know the area better than anyone, taking every opportunity to warn them about the savage Indians native to the area.
However, as the group travels further and further into the wilderness some, including Emily (Michelle Williams) begin to doubt the wisdom of their guide, Meek. As the struggle to survive becomes harsher, the group discover the enemies within are often more dangerous than the enemies without.
So, how does a film set in the mid-nineteenth century with all the carriages, dresses, guns and dialogue one might associate with the era have anything in common with The Walking Dead, a TV show which contains zombies, tanks, and lots and lots of gore?
Fundamentally, both are about the struggle for survival. They both contain a small community in a harsh, uncompromising environment; they both contain people having to reassess their values and laws in light of new circumstances and new dangers; they both contain groups of people discovering that the enemies within are often more dangerous than the enemies without.