January 6, 2015 Fields of the Dead (Movie Review)
Fields of the Dead is the latest horror movie released via Ruthless Pictures, on the September 10, 2014. Writer Scott Coleman and Director Daniel B. Iske, who have collaborated in the past on The Wretched (2008), Love Owls (2009), and The Dead Hour TV series (2010-2014), filled their crew with members from previous works, including actors Mark Booker, Sara Wald, Matt Harwell, Jessica Hotovy, Matt Tatroe, Mike Delange and Chelsie Hartness and Producers Wendy Iske and Ehren Parks from 2008’s The Wretched.
Fields of the Dead tells the story of Trent (Mark Booker: Bane 2010, Behind the Red Motel Door 2009), a graduate student who is about to complete his dissertation. His school, Colorado State University, has purchased some acreage of farm land. Trent decides to use the property to complete his research, and enlists the help of his girlfriend, Shelly (Jessica Hotovy: The Wretched 2008), and friends, Ashley (Sarah Wald: The Wretched 2008), Cheryl (Melanie Recker: It’s Dark Here 2013, The Man I Thought I Knew 2014), Josh (Matt Tatroe: The Dead Hour 2011), Linda (Chelsie Hartness: The Dead Hour 2011) and his brother Alex (Matt Harwell: The Experiment 2010, South Dakota 2013), who will obtain a passing grade for helping him.
While sitting around a campfire after setting up camp, Trent tells the group a local legend about the property they are on. Many years ago, a settler named Captain Rayleigh lived on the land. Rayleigh drew the ire of a local tribe of American Indians, and responded to them by massacring their entire tribe, except for a couple of hunters who had been out hunting. When they returned and saw what Rayleigh was responsible for, they cursed him and his land, trapping their souls forever. Almost as soon as they arrive at the property, Trent and his friends experience strange noises and voices. The supernatural force seems to be particularly targeting Cheryl, who begins acting oddly.
One by one, beginning with Josh, they disappear and are then brutally killed. Alex starts receiving messages and finds a diary that Josh had found and read, that seems to hint towards the means of their survival. The ones that are still alive are freaked out with the odd, unexpected disappearances and changes in behavior, but Trent is reluctant to leave the property, his hopes of finally completing his thesis being dashed by an unseen killer. Friendships and relationships start tearing at the seams under the pressure to stay alive and fight what they can’t understand. Bit by bit, the property’s past unfolds, revealing a dark history that carries on. Can it be stopped, and will they survive?
The character of Alex provides some comic relief, in what otherwise would be a bleak story. Fields of the Dead has the potential to be a great movie, but holes in the simple story-line become impossible to ignore the further the viewer gets into the film. There are long lapses in the tension and suspense, which then take time to pick back up. There is plenty of blood and gore, and the requisite sex and drugs, but not enough action to keep the viewer glued to the screen. Well-acted, the film showcases the small cast of actors that make the most out of the script. CrypticRock gives Fields of the Dead 2 out of 5 stars.