Dark Harvest (2004)

DVD Cover (Lions Gate)
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Overall Rating 27%
Overall Rating
Ranked #7,556
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Connections: Dark Harvest

A group of teenagers go to an inherited family farm, only to be attacked by a killer scarecrow. --IMDb
Review by Crispy
Added: September 05, 2009
Despite the fact that Children of the Corn sucked, it was amazingly successful at connecting cornfields with murderous horror. Despite this, the seemingly obvious killer scarecrow route has been largely ignored, and has only been addressed by a handful of B films. Even more distressing, most of them seem to be just as bad as the film that "started it all." I've never seen it personally, but Scarecrow Slayer sure didn't earn a favorable review, and neither did our featured film here.

In the midst of the Dust Bowl in the 1930s, Elijah Baker's crop is coming in better than ever, when nobody else can grow so much as a weed. While investigating his farm, the local sheriff notices that the man's scarecrow is actually a bleeding corpse. He confronts Baker, resulting in a shootout that leaves both men dead. Seventy years later, we catch up with a young man named Sean. He was adopted at an early age, so it was a bit of a shock when he was contacted by his biological father's lawyer to be notified that he had inherited a West Virginian farmhouse. After some slight hesitation, he gathers up a group of friends and heads south to check out his newest asset. When they reach the town, the locals seem to be terrified of the place and the first night, Sean speaks with an old woman who tells him that he is the descendant of Elijah Baker, and the spirits of the men he killed were out for revenge on his bloodline because of the full moon (or something). True to her word, the next night three scarecrows rise up and attack Sean and his friends, and they'll have to act quick to survive this night of vengeance

Now, a major problem here is that all of the killing is in the final chunk of the movie, and the beginning is nothing but monologues explaining the plot and watching a bunch of kids whose acting makes Megan Fox seem like Geena Davis. The first time leading actor Don Digiulio opened his mouth, I knew I was in for a long night. And sadly, he's right on par with the rest of his group. By far the worst, however, was B.W. York as the token black comedic relief. If I had to guess, I'd say that York never stepped foot in anywhere remotely urban, and listening to his awful attempt at Ebonics was cringe worthy. Granted, it'd be unfair to blame the actors solely, as the script they were handed was ripe with cliches and awful one-liners. Really, the only thing this movie did right with this ragtag bunch is including a skinny dipping scene with our four ladies. Hell, they even swung and missed on a lesbian angle. How inept do you have to be to screw that up?

As a slasher movie, Dark Harvest gets the small benefit of a slightly lower bar it needs to reach to be considered decent, and a large chunk of that reach stems from our killers. When I picked this DVD off the shelf, I looked at the cover and became extremely excited about the scarecrow itself. Even as I watched the horrible acting and groan-inducing script play out, I still held out hope. As horror fans, every last one of us has gotten burned by an awesome DVD cover, and yet somehow we never learn. Despite the amazing looking creature gracing the cover, the trio caught on film were absolutely horrible, and it was painfully obvious that costumes were supplied by Party City. What makes the whole thing even more disappointing is how slow paced these final scenes are. A large handful involves characters hiding in the shadows without a scarecrow to be seen. What's a slasher movie without any slashing?

So here we have another black eye in the world of killer scarecrows. Despite Dark Harvest being a colossal disappointment, the movie spawned two sequels that I'm sure I'll hunt down at some point because I'm a glutton for punishment. Hell, I might even buy it if I ever see it for a dollar or two, just because I like the cover art so much; but I can tell you right now I'll never watch it. I recommend you guys do the same. 2/10.
Crispy #1: Crispy - added 09/06/2009, 06:47 AM
Damn, I just realized I forgot to mention the brilliant quip on the back of the DVD case. "It will scare the crop out of you." Isn't that ingenious?
HAVOK2000 #2: HAVOK2000 - added 06/21/2010, 06:07 AM
You really need to find a copy of the original "Dark Harvest" that was released in 1992. By no means is it a great film, but it's different.
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