REEL ADVICE: Dark Harvest
You know, I always have to wonder about a movie that's opening screen is really nothing more than the box art. I've seen some truly creative opening menus, Jeepers Creepers 2 foremost among them, but I always have to wonder about a movie that can't get any more imaginative than to use its box art.
Dark Harvest, from prolific releaser Lions Gate Home Entertainment, starts off surprisingly well...and accurately. Black-and-white pictures, newspaper shots, and a voiceover of Franklin Roosevelt discussing the Dust Bowl in the heartland.
Carson County, West Virginia, is in the midst of a drought itself. But on one farm, things are doing surprisingly well. The corn is high and green, all's well on this farm. Except the farm's owner seems to be having some trouble with the law...as we discover how his fields are doing so well. Seems this farmer irrigates his fields with human blood, and leaves the dessicated corpses hang as scarecrows in his field. Justice comes to end his reign of agrarian terror, but not before he kills the local sheriff.
Fast forward a few dozen years to the always amorphous time period known as "the present." Our blood-soaked farmer had a son, and now that the elder is dead, the son, Connell, has been deeded the family farm. You know, the one soaked in blood?
I can see this kid now, "Jeepers, pop! Thanks for leaving me the farm where you killed a whole bunch of people to use as dry wells!"
Our boy shows some sense. He has zero plan to go to see the house and land, believing it best to "let sleeping dogs lie." But, of course, we can't very well do that or else there would be no movie. So Connell's girlfriend wheedles him into going, and inviting their friends.
Connell, you dumb SCHMUCK.
So, here we go...off to set up the same horror movie we've all seen a dozen times. Right down to the same old shopkeep warning the party of college-age kids about the evils of whereever it is they're going.
Something original better happen here, and soon, or else Lion's Gate is gonna hate this review.
One of Connell's neighbors, Maggie, gives us the entire backstory and tells Connell that he'd do well to leave before "this came full circle." Connell, of course, pays no attention, and when he turns his back and looks back, Maggie's no longer there. Somehow, this woman, who looks like a badly-baked loaf of bread and must weigh a conservative estimate of two hundred eighty pounds, has vanished in the space of bare seconds.
What's next? The BARN suddenly vanishes? Just as likely!
Ah, but not only is our farmer friend irrigating his field with blood, he's also made a...wait for it...DEAL WITH THE DEVIL!
Wow. This movie's got more cliches per square inch than the last Republican party rally.
Ironically, folks...irrigating a field with blood would never work. Human blood contains several trace ingredients, not least of them salt. Spray salt over a field of corn and you may as well set fire to it.
But better yet, one of our little body-counts-to-be has a strange feeling that the scarecrows are a little upwardly mobile...and getting closer to the house.
Ladies and gentlemen, we've done it. The scarecrows are officially revolting, and they've killed the lesbian.
With a sickle.
This movie's percentage of original content is now measurable with single digits.
And you know, every time I see these scarecrows wander around I'm filled with an irresistable compulsion to whistle "Turkey in the Straw." Perhaps it's a commentary on how utterly LUDICROUS I find these poor dumb things, but hey...what can you do?
And then, finally, this poor excuse for a movie ends. And it ends in a manner so insulting that you'll wish you hadn't seen it. It's a CLIP SHOW ending, giving you a montage of scenes you just finished watching not less than an hour and a half ago, with the voiceover of constant screaming.
We get, among other things in our extras, some blooper footage which is almost as bad as the movie itself was. We also get ENGLISH subtitles for a change, as well as trailers for "Dark Harvest," The Punisher, Godsend, "Nine Lives", "Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed," "SICK", and "Serial Killing 101".
If only they'd put as much thought and effort into the movie....
So, all in all, Dark Harvest is yet another predictable hack-n-slay with predictable characters, predictable villains and predictable reaction from the audience. Yawning, and a vague sensation that they just wasted three dollars and an hour and a half.