Film Review: Scarecrow (MA15+) (USA, 2013)

scarecrow

Scarecrow is another disenchanting cookie cutter, urban legend based horror TV movie, in a long list of similar movies under Director Sheldon Wilson’s belt. It’s not that the actors aren’t semi-decent, in fact there are some familiar names amongst the cast, Lacey Chabert from Party of Five anyone? Or that the special effects aren’t top notch and the sets fittingly creepy, or even that the scenes aren’t action packed. It’s an overarching generic quality, that deprives the film of any flair or substance.

High school teacher Aaron (Robin Dunne) takes six students out to the Miller family farm on detention duty, to help dismantle the field’s scarecrow for set-up at a festival back in town. It seems that an urban legend rife amongst the townsfolk, describing a demonic entity lurking within the fields, is not far from the truth. Aaron runs into his ex and property owner Kristen (Lacey Chabert), as well another one of her ex’s and mutual friend Eddie (Carlo Marks), just to make things even more awkward. The whole gang soon find themselves trapped and chased by the ‘scarecrow’, with the body count rising every second.

The casting feels like a Breakfast club spinoff. There’s a well intentioned class captain, a nasty troublemaker plus vicious girlfriend, a meek ginger haired kid, a dark horse and a sweet goody two shoes. Of course the audience doesn’t get a chance to analyse these characters, as they’re casted mainly as slasher fodder and most are taken down within the first hour.

Having said that, the whole cast do a pretty good job with the lacklustre roles thrust upon them. The class captain Daevon and delinquent Tyler, played by Reilly Dolman and Richard Horman (both part of the Percy Jackson franchise) respectively, are pretty convincing. It’s a shame they don’t get much airtime. For anyone who’s witnessed Chabert’s acting growing up, she’s still got that wet eyed, puppy dog look which is fit for purpose but tiresome. Dunne on the other hand as the responsible teacher, makes the storyline’s bland predictability bearable.

The plot’s a little lame, an opportunity to save it with an intriguing back story for our sinister ghoul, is disappointingly untaken . Instead a lazy one liner of “no one knows where it came from” is the only explanation given. Seriously? That’s the best you’ve got? There are a also a few not very well thought out gaps in the plot, apparently the scarecrow can’t be killed, which makes the ending nonsensical. At least the CGI treatment of the monster is a highlight, and it’s a brave move on the director’s part to have the scarecrow appear in broad daylight a few times.

Having seen the trailer I was not disappointed by how disappointing this film turned out to be. From the cringeworthy film advertising quote’s of “fear the field” and “he’ll scare you to death”, to the misrepresented DVD cover image, Scarecrow is another by product of a quick buck at the audience’s expense.

Review Score: ONE AND A HALF (OUT OF FIVE STARS)

Duration: 86 minutes

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