‘Scarecrows’ | Film Review Stuck in the mud

December 13, 2018
0
Film, Film Reviews
1.5

Summary

Scarecrows is an uneven film utterly devoid of creativity, every thought and idea an inferior version of something we’ve seen dozens of times before in the horror genre.

1.5

Summary

Scarecrows is an uneven film utterly devoid of creativity, every thought and idea an inferior version of something we’ve seen dozens of times before in the horror genre.

To give this film a little bit of credit, scarecrows are an underutilized feature in horror films. They’re naturally pretty unsettling, what with their burlap faces and crucified postures and all. And they are associated with crows, easily one of the top five creepiest and most foreboding birds. In the right hands, a horror film about scarecrows could have some real potential.

Unfortunately, these are not those hands, and this is not that film. What we get instead is an unimaginative murder spree about a farmer who for largely unexplored reasons turns random trespassers into scarecrows for his fields. There’s some vague nonsense about his daughter being murdered by presumably a drifter or something, but honestly, it is simultaneously too explained for the killer to be mysterious and not explained enough for it to be engaging. The scarecrow torture bit is admittedly pretty gross but lacks variety and creativity as it tends to be the same few motions over and over again as the body count increases.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. First, we need to meet the heroes of our film, four h***y, thinly-developed teenagers who repeatedly let their libidos get in the way and can consistently be relied upon to do the wrong thing at every possible turn. None of them are particularly good actors, but to be fair the film works against them constantly – the dialogue sounds like it was written by an out of touch middle-aged guy who has convinced himself that he knows how the kids talk these days, and their motivations throughout make zero sense.

We know we’re not dealing with the best and brightest when on two separate occasions within the first fifteen minutes they encounter disembodied fingers and are like, “Hmm, this is totally normal. Let us continue to wander further into remote farmland without cell service in search of an incredibly underwhelming lagoon. Also, while we’re at it, let’s split up. That way we’re even more vulnerable!”

I wish I had good things to tell you, guys, I really do. But Scarecrows would have seemed uninspired and old hat even and it had come out in the early 2000s when these sorts of road trip murder extravaganzas were all the rage. But released now, when there have been so many recent films really pushing the boundaries of the horror genre and experimenting creatively, it really doesn’t stand a chance.

The long, exploitative scene with the teenage girls undressing to go skinny-dipping, complete with slow-motion camera work, sexy music, and leers from the boys just further illustrates how out of its depth Scarecrows is. It’s playing with a rulebook that hasn’t been updated in about 20 years, and it shows.

The final chase scene is incredibly repetitive, and features that infuriating moment in horror films where our one remaining hero finally gains an upper hand and could end things once and for all, but instead hits the villain twice and just sort of runs away. Credit where credit’s due, the last shot of the film as the camera pulls out on a field full of scarecrows is legitimately unnerving, but it isn’t enough to erase the uneven and unimaginative mess that preceded it.

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