American history may be still a recent occurrence relative to the rest of the world, but there are plenty of events that lend themselves to unique settings for stories. However, a compelling stance to take is to examine that history from the perspective of someone treated as an outsider in their own homeland. And that’s the approach “Mohawk” takes with its story by presenting a bit of the American history through the eyes of a member of the Mohawk. But is this unique approach all this movie has to offer or is there more substance to it?
In “Mohawk” a British operative named Joshua (Eamon Farren) attempts to enlist the help of a tribe of Mohawks to help the British in their fight with the United States during the War of 1812. The only two willing to hear him out are Oak (Kaniehtii Horn) and Calvin (Justin Rain), while the rest of their tribe prefer to remain uninvolved in the war. Eager to inspire his people to fight, Calvin attacks a camp of US soldiers and draws the attention of a group of soldiers out for revenge. The trio must now fight their way through the wilderness in a desperate struggle for survival.
I’ve seen “Mohawk” be labeled a few different ways, but the most apt description for it would be a historical thriller. This isn’t a historical retelling of events, at least none that I know of, but it is set in a specific time period. The story is also more about the pursuit of the trio as it becomes quickly apparent that Colonel Holt (Ezra Buzzington) is out for blood. “Mohawks” spends most of its time with Holt and his men tracking the trio through the woods and occasionally viciously torturing one of them. It’s a straightforward thriller for about 90% of the film and is a good one at that, but then the narrative takes a turn towards the supernatural at the end and the film suffers for it. Throughout “Mohawk” we’re being presented with a very real world with some very minor spiritual elements that could be called dreams and hallucinations, but nothing that stands out as being actually “supernatural.” So when the film takes that shift at the end it feels a bit jarring and results in a weird supernatural fight scene. It’s unfortunate, because if it had stuck to being gritty and real I think it would’ve served the overall premise of the story better.
But while the story loses steam for me towards the end, it’s not at any fault to the performances in this movie. Farren, Horn, and Rain work well together, but the person that really steals the show is Buzzington as his Colonel Holt is both fatherly and completely menacing. His voice rarely raises to the level of a shout, but he remains frightening in his demeanor. It’s believable when a giant guy like Lachlan (Jon Huber aka Luke Harper from the WWE) is intimidated by a much smaller guy. Also, I should mention Huber does a surprisingly good job in the movie and plays a vulnerable character that makes you forget about his Luke Harper persona. Overall, everyone does a commendable job in this movie and they really punctuate some excellent dialog.
Overall, there are more good elements to be found in “Mohawk” than bad, but this is one of the few instances where I wish they hadn’t tried to make the movie more supernatural. If it had kept the gritty and dark tone that it had started off with it would’ve led to a much better ending. As is, the film ends in an almost comical fashion that left me feeling severely disappointed. If you’re looking for a straight up horror movie, this won’t be for you. However, if you’re interested in a unique thriller with a perspective we don’t see too often, then I would highly recommend “Mohawk.”
Oh and I received a blu-ray copy of this movie. Normally I would review special features, but there weren’t any on the disc. So if you’re a special features kind of person, you may want to keep that in mind.
“Mohawk” is out on blu-ray this week as of April 10th. You can also find it on VOD.