The Bottom Line
- Strong acting
- Refreshing human element
- Slow pace
- Needs additional editing
- Starring Cloris Leachman, Tara Reid, Joshua Ormond, Bev Appleton, Faust Checho, Brian Anthony Wilson, Louis Morabito
- Directed by Tom Mattera and David Mazzoni
- Rated NR
- DVD Release Date: April 24, 2012
Guide Review - 'The Fields' DVD Review
The Fields is an admirably restrained horror movie that succeeds in generating a palpable sense of dread while eschewing the more base and predictable blood 'n guts approach to the genre. Largely because it's based on the childhood experiences of screenwriter Harrison Smith, the story refreshingly focuses on character development -- aided by strong performances from the cast -- and mood -- featuring extended moments of dialogue-free ambient noise and an evocative musical score.
The film does a good job of presenting the plot as perceived through the eyes of a child, but that's part of its downfall as well. Like a childhood memory, the events are hazy, with several moments that are left dangling without explanation (Why did Barry pull a gun on Bonnie? What happened to Barry when he lived with his aunt? What's going on with Bonnie's relationship with her parents?). This, combined with unnecessarily dreamlike visual effects in certain scenes, creates a cloud of confusion over what we're supposed to take away as significant and/or real. Ultimately, there's too much focus on character and mood, leading both to extraneous scenes that add little to the story and to overly long "moody" scenes that beg to be trimmed. These aren't fatal flaws, but it seems the filmmakers could've easily fixed them by editing the movie down from 100 minutes to 80 in order to focus on the meat of the story (i.e., a boy, his grandparents and a mysterious menace) -- which is quite eerie and effective in stretches.
Special features include featurettes, outtakes and interviews.