The Fields (2011) Movie Review
Directors: Tom Mattera, David Mazzoni
Stars: Tara Reid, Cloris Leachman and Brian Anthony Wilson
Reviewer: Horrorphilia Jeremy
Essential fact #1: Cornfields are creepy. Even with a bad script and poor cinematography, those stalks are unnerving. Thankfully, that is not this movie.
The Fields is a coming-of-age dark drama with a very slow burn that has some nice atmospheric moments, but is generally devoid of the horror, action, or scares that a grown-up audience might expect. It recalls the subject matter of films like Watcher in the Woods, Paper House, and Tidelands. I feel the ideal target audience would be young adults with long attention spans and who have parents that don’t mind bad language. With language edits, one could see a cable channel like Lifetime purchasing this, especially for the Halloween season.
The story revolves around Joshua who goes to live with his grandparents while his parents deal with a violent break-up. The cornfields, despite his grandmother’s warnings, become ripe for exploration physically and psychologically. Set during the Charles Manson murder, some local hippies may or may not be the monsters lurking in the shadows.
The actors that the directors Mattera and Mazzoni have cast really keep the movie interesting. Tara Reid as the mother has such a riveting look, and she seems to have matured in the acting department some too. The grandparents (Cloris Leachman and Bev Appleton) are a joy to watch and bring some much-needed comic relief–especially the Oscar-winning Leachman, whose senior character could out-curse and out-spit a sailor.
Forty-five minutes into this movie, the charm starts to wear off the actors and despite some creepy moments and high production values, ennui comes charging in. At the climax the characters have questionable decisions and motivations that disappoint. The final shot (on those swaying corn stalks again-) helps bring the movie full circle to a nice conclusion. While I liked most of the film’s elements, they just didn’t add up to any lasting impression. Yet, those who don’t need bloody theatrics (or are in the mood to reflect upon the fears of childhood) certainly may enjoy the film more.