Fields, The (UK - DVD R2)
Marcus wanders through the cornfields waiting to get scared by Tara Reid...
The Fields is a psychological thriller based on true events that occurred in the fall of 1973... sort of. It's a story of young boy, Steven (Joshua Ormond) who stays on his grandparent's small farm while his parent sort out their problems. After venturing into the cornfields (despite being told not to), a mysterious presence begins to threaten the family. The "based on true events" part is that there is media coverage of the Charles Manson murders and they are weighing on the small boy's mind. So "based on true events" is loose at best but the false advertising doesn't stop there.
The flashy lenticular cover with the the hooded figures making their way through the cornfields is a crock of shit really. This movie is about mood and the threat is largely unseen. There's a question as to is the boy generating this menace as he deals with the horror he's watching on the news but even that is down to personal assumption The Fields is largely a thriller but for most of the runtime is actually a drama, albeit one that feels a bit scary and odd.
For all of its let downs (mainly iffy acting a lot of the time) The Fields is well paced. The pay off is pretty lousy but directors Tom Mattera and David Mazzoni are good at holding onto their audience with their grasp of tension and suspense and I appluad them for not explaining every little detail as the film travels in to ever more weird territory.
Wrapping up, those wondering how Tara Reid plays in this flick and in a genre outside of what we know her for to boot, well about ten minutes of screen time doesn't really warrant her name on the box art. She's giving it a go and she's pushing to show her emotions but don't be expecting a miracle here guys. She's kept to a minimum and it's probably a good thing.
Shot digitally (what low budget horror isn't nowadays), colours are a little odd, bordering on being a little too warm and a little bit off in places. There's an abundance of beige and brown tinted colouring and that pattern continues throughout. That said, textures are very good, as is detail in general. Clothing, wrinkles, set dressing, the natural lighting lends itself to the overcast look and low budget of the film, even if the colouring is a tad on the dark side.
The image isn't particularly sharp but the digital photography helps it outreach the usual low budget visuals that can come with the genre. Once in the cornfields, colours boost with blues and greens glowing off the screen nicely. It's an okay looking film for the limitations but it still has that cheap air to it.
The opening title sequence attempts to overbear with sound and everything is off to a good start. Slow building score and the cracking of corn fields and crickets all building an unsettling mood to get us going. Dialogue is crisp and central with atmospheric sounds such as muffled voices from downstairs sounding a little too clear sometimes and having a slight echo to them. The score rumbles along throughout, often adding depth with weighty bass and sometimes managing not to sound as synthy as it actually is.
As well as colour boosts, the corn field scenes brings heightened audio. Crickets chirp away and grow which each creaking step through the corn. Flies buzz, birds chirp. Its all build, build, build with the score supporting the mood. More than 50% of what works in The Fields is the sound and without it this flick really could have fallen flat.
The disc opens with a trailer for The Shrine and that's your lot.
The Fields has something about it and it's mainly in the mood department. It's hard to recommend because nothing all that interesting really happens but it felt slicker than a lot of low budget horror/thrillers despite the fact nothing really pays off after the well handled build ups. Video and audio are good, there's no extras and really there's no real hook or highlight to hype up. The Fields is maybe a good hint that something better might come from the directors down the line but it's too early to pin hopes on that really.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 27th August 2013
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Stereo 2.0 English
Easter Egg: No
Director: Tom Mattera & David Mazzoni
Cast: Cloris Leachman, Tara Reid,
Genre: Drama and Horror
Length: 95 minutes
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