The Field Review: Casting Mars An Otherwise Good Horror Film | Shriekfest 2019

In the new horror movie The Field, Ben and Lydia are a big city couple looking to reinvent their lives in a small Wisconsin town. They buy a long-unused farm, so Ben can work on his photography, but they soon discover they are not alone out there. There are remnants of the past, ghosts or apparitions, who have unfinished business at the farm and won’t be leaving anytime soon.

Ben had been an up and coming chef in Chicago, until Lydia convinced him to leave it all behind and start a new life with her in a new locale. They bought the farm sight unseen and are surprised to find it in such rough shape, and they’re also unaware of its past. Having been home to many a cult ceremony in years past, it still has plenty of bad juju floating around. In addition, a girl disappeared into thin air in a field there in the 1960s, only to reappear 7 years later, a very changed person. Edith, as she is called, lives on the outskirts of the farm and remains haunted by the aforementioned events to this day.

While taking photos one day, Ben finds hints of the presence of otherworldly beings. These apparitions haunt his photos, and eventually his dreams, defying explanation. This, combined with Lydia’s eventual disappearance in the titular field, lead Ben to the brink of insanity and capture by police. Will he be able to save his lost wife and, in the process, figure out what is behind his farm’s haunting ghostly visitors?

Appearing in supporting roles are well-known actors, such as Veronica Cartwright as Edith and Barry Bostwick as George, a local art dealer. Mark Metcalf also shows up as Sheriff Roy, a not so welcoming local lawman, and Edith’s former beau. All do a capable job with their roles, but it’s in the film’s lead actors where I found the film wanting. The actors portraying Ben and Lydia couldn’t hold their own against the more seasoned veteran actors, in my opinion. This was my big complaint with the film, which I found otherwise entertaining, and it marred the whole thing for me. Judgment of performances is a subjective matter, for sure, and it’s conceivable that another viewer would find said performances passable or even good.

Director and cinematographer Tate Bunker does a solid job with his duties, and can’t be faulted too much for what I found to be the movie’s shortcomings. The Field is one major element away from being what I consider a pretty good movie, and that’s better than you can say for most films.

Recommended if you liked: Sinister, Shutter, Polaroid


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