Monday, December 17, 2012

The Fields (2011)

Tara Reid's fall from grace post-American Pie/Van Wilder has been pretty public, and I probably wasn't alone in thinking that she would never work again.  But recently she appeared in a handful of horror movies, and showed up in American Reunion looking as lovely as ever.  So I do want to sort of root for her, even though the hair she's sporting in this movie does not really suit her:

I think they were going for "Amityville Horror," but ended up with "Little House on the Prairie"

Cloris Leachman is also in this movie, and what a random place for her to show up.  She plays a curmudgeonly hick grandmother who keeps telling her grandson that if he wanders too far off, they will find him dead and bloated and disgusting.  Nice image!

All of the promotional materials for this movie claim that it's "based on actual events" but neither IMDB or Wikipedia will tell me what those events were.  So, let's just get right into the plot.  Bonnie (Reid) is in a shitty marriage where her husband thinks it's fine to point a rifle at her.  But instead of leaving him, she ships her kid, Steven (Joshua Ormond) to live with his creepy grandparents so she and her husband can work things out.

This is all happening alongside the events of the Manson killings, which Steven seems quite interested in.  He is also told repeatedly to stay out of the cornfields behind his grandparents home, and he discovers why when he sees a dead body back there.  During the time that Steven is staying at his grandparents', strange things start to happen.  It begins with him hearing someone breathing at the window and continues as he begins to see strange people on the property.  Speaking of people, there are some weird-ass characters in this movie.  There's these weird inbreds killing chickens, random hippies wandering around, and a dude with a creepy resemblance to Charles Manson. 

I didn't see any information on the budget for this movie, but I will say that the quality is quite good, especially the cinematography.  It was filmed in the Poconos in Pennsylvania, which obviously lends a natural beauty, but the lighting and sound quality were excellent as well.  There's some great location shots, from the farm itself, to a decrepit and disgusting house, to an abandoned amusement park.  (Side note: it must have been so f'in awesome filming in the abandoned park, which was actually Bushkill Park, opened in the early 1900s)

But unfortunately these positive components, and a few creepy moments, did not add up to a good movie.  I watched this whole thing, and I'm still not really sure what happened.  It seems like some Charles Manson-wannabes were kinda torturing some grandparents and their grandkid.  They may have killed other people.  There were some neglectful parents vaguely involved.  The lame jump scare at the end made me SO MAD.  I feel like this movie had some really great legs, but it just couldn't pull it all together.  Bummer.