Scarecrows

Teenagers are kidnapped and made into scarecrows that are left to die in the crop fields.

So, we’ve all seen that movie right? The one, with the teenagers on their way to a thing and that creepy scarecrow dude comes, and kills them? No. Not Jeepers Creepers, Scarecrows. Taking a scythe to the well-worn formula of cornfield mayhem, the new horror pic Scarecrows is much better than it deserves to be thanks to sharp directing from Stuart Stone and acceptable performances from all involved. Yes, even Poe, credited as “The Crow” who gives an impeccable performance.  Pun intended.

Our story begins as dawn breaks over a rather guarded field of corn. Scarecrows populate the vista. We zoom in on one singular burlap hood and focus on the eyes. You know what’s coming. It’s at the beginning of the pic, everybody knows what’s coming. Death, destruction, and a good harvest. We move on to our four protagonists. Ash (Hannah Gordon) and Farbsie (Mike Taylor, and Ely (Umed Amin) and Devon (Maaor Ziv) are in search of a particular secret lagoon. To get there, however, they need to cross through a forbidden cornfield.

“…in search of a particular secret lagoon. To get there, however, they need to cross through a forbidden cornfield.”

The kids make it through, then after frolicking in the lake, they need to traverse the cornfield again. One thing leads to another and, well, they get stuck in the cornfield. And then comes the mysterious whistle traveling on the wind and certain death thereafter. The kids should never have trespassed.

Scarecrows isn’t as derivative as it sounds, honest. This sounds like Jeepers without the Creepers, but this movie has a different story to tell. This is a movie about a territorial farmer that wants to keep the damned kids off his lawn on account of past tragedy. Yet somehow, the underdeveloped storyline leaves us with only highlights of what separates it from the other movies about terror on the farm.

“…much better than it deserves to be thanks to sharp directing…”

For their part, the four leads do a nice enough job. There is believable chemistry between the four of them, though it doesn’t last long. As for our villain The Father (Jason J. Thomas), this is pretty much a criminally missed opportunity to do something new. Here we have a killer very grounded in reality yet painfully underused. The same goes for The Son (Derek Christoff). His scenes were like seeing the beginnings of a fun notion that were only left to rot on the vine.

Scarecrows isn’t the worst thing I have seen this year, it’s not the best, but it is certainly one of the more underdeveloped treatments in recent memory. Almost a blank slate of ideas really. Director and Co-writer Stone make up for these lapses with some snappy editing and clean smash cuts.

Here’s to hoping the next harvest yields more fun.

Scarecrows (2017) Directed by Stuart Stone. Written by  Adam Rodness, Stuart Stone. Starring Hannah Gordon, Mike Taylor, Umed Amin, Maaor Ziv, Jason J. Thomas, Derek Christoff.

5 out of 10 stars

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