DVD Review: THE FIELDS

PrintE-mail Written by Julian White

The Fields Review

DVD Review: The Fields / Cert: 15 / Director: Tom Mattera, David Mazzoni / Screenplay: Harrison Smith / Starring: Tara Reid, Cloris Leachman, Tommy Lee Wollace, Brian Anthony Wilson / Release Date: 27th August

It's 1973, and the Summer of Love is a distant memory. When Bonnie's (Reid's) ne'er-do-well husband points a shotgun to her head, she decides that it might be a good idea if she got their impressionable young son Steven (Ormond) out of the house. So she sends him to live with his grandparents Gladys (Leachman) and Hiney (Appleton) on their isolated farm. He's warned not to go into the cornfield, but can't resist and soon comes across disturbing evidence that there is something nasty lurking in its depths, something that comes out at night to spy on him.

Nor is this his only source of worry. Haunted by news reports of the Manson Family murders, Steven is petrified when some bad-mannered, thieving hippies set up camp in an abandoned amusement park nearby. And then there are Gladys' hillbilly relations, a backward bunch who amuse themselves by getting drunk and slaughtering chickens in their basement. It's unnerving to think that his father comes from the same dodgy gene pool.

This is downbeat stuff, to be sure, but presented, for the most part, with a beguilingly light touch. Cinematographer Daniel Watchulonis creates a creepy, unsettling atmosphere with eccentrically framed images of grey, lowering skies and spiky-looking heads of corn. The performances are tough and unsentimental, especially from Leachman and Appleton as Gladys and Hiney. The screenplay by Harrison Smith delivers a pair of refreshingly meaty, well-rounded roles for these senior citizen actors – she's daunting and strict but kind-hearted, he's urbane and jokey but tough and even sinister at times. Round-faced, button-eyed Joshua Ormond is very believable, too, as the sensitive, preoccupied central character. (Celebrity Big Brother alumnus Tara Reid is there strictly for poster appeal, and it's probably just as well her part isn't bigger, as there's more corn in her performance than in Hiney and Gladys' field.)

In the last reel, directors Tom Mattera and David Mazzoni up the pace, but the thriller element of the story never really adds up to much, and it's a shame that they didn't jettison it altogether in favour of a more naturalistic denouement. Although it's being marketed as a horror film, The Fields is better regarded as a leisurely, slightly morbid mood piece and as a worm's-eye-view evocation of an era. If you're after thrills, chills and heart-pounding action, then look elsewhere, but if you like the sound of a leftfield coming of age story, modest in scope but quietly intense, then by all means give this very decent little movie a go.



Suggested Articles:
Jamil Dehlavi’s Jinnah documents the trials and tribulations of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the man
With a tagline reading ‘Lies eventually catch up’, Malcolm Deegan’s sole feature outing as wri
The success of Easy Rider in 1969 took everyone by surprise and after it, the big studios scrambled
Raymond Burr's Ironside is back for more network crime solving in another 26 episodes for the fourth
scroll back to top

Comments  

 
0 #1 jamesy23 2012-08-02 21:06
Liking this!!!
I'll be sure to check it out.
Quote
 

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Other articles in DVD / Blu-ray Reviews

JINNAH (1998) 02 December 2016

FRACTIONAL 02 December 2016

THE HIRED HAND (1971) 02 December 2016

IRONSIDE SEASON 4 02 December 2016

IRONSIDE SEASON 3 02 December 2016

STAR TREK: THE RODDENBERRY VAULT 02 December 2016

GHOST IN THE NOONDAY SUN 29 November 2016

AKIRA: THE COLLECTOR’S EDITION 29 November 2016

ASTERIX: THE MANSIONS OF THE GODS 29 November 2016

KICKBOXER: VENGEANCE 29 November 2016

- Entire Category -

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner

      
      
 
...