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Dark Fields

Directed by Mark McNabb, Allan Randall

Written by Allan Randall

Starring Jenna Scott, Lindsay Dell, Brian Austin Jr., Eric Phillion

Produced by Mark McNabb, Allan Randall

Not Rated

80 minutes

*

I don’t believe I ever want to see the barrel that Lions Gate had to scrape the bottom of to dredge up this roaring suckfest.

So what we have here plotwise is now what you’d call much of a plot at all: a bunch of idiot kids with the collective intelligence of a jar of mayonnaise—an empty jar at that—can’t seem to manage to get to a mindless rock concert, so they wind up getting attacked by a raging hillbilly instead. Texas Chainsaw Knockoff, aisle two!

First, “Dark Fields” has a positively screwed up opening sequence, where we waver between a hot chick jogging and getting changed and some kind of farmyard scene going on. What exactly we’re going for at this point as a farmer kills a rooster and a hot chick makes herself a belly shirt is totally, unequivocally, beyond me.

I swear, this chick is there for like one class. Seriously—eight minutes in and she’s already off to the concert—one whole class. I think the kids in “Beverly Hills 90210” had a more demanding curriculum than “Dark Fields” can muster. Maybe if they actually got her a couple classes she might’ve had brains in her head sufficient to beating back an axe-toting crazed farmer.

And can we have the “I’ve got to piss!” argument a few more times in the first fifteen minutes? Back and forth for like five minutes is some variant on “I’ve got to piss!” and “No! Not until we get to the gas station!” for five solid minutes. Considering this thing is only eighty minutes long to begin with, it’s not like they’ve got a whole lot of time to waste, and they’re certainly not taking advantage of what time they actually have available.

Amateurish in the extreme, with godawful effects, plot holes of depth measurable in hectares, lousy dialogue (I actually heard the phrase “cheese ‘n’ rice” at one point—you can also have a lively drinking game around how many times you hear the phrase “ass-clown”!), a plot so cookie cutter that it could describe any of a hundred movies released in the last twenty years, and with acting so unnaturally awkward and stilted that it’s the cinematic equivalent of Baron Samedi in a foot race, “Dark Fields” isn’t the kind of movie I’d want to run into in a dark alley. Or in a well-lit video store, for that matter.

And then, for some reason, you get about a quarter of the way through, and a car horn honks.I reran it three times just to make sure it wasn’t outside my house and three times, a car horn. No one seems to notice or care that they’re out in the middle of nowhere with a car horn honking, so I’m gonna go out on a limb and ask:

What kind of pathologically screwed up post-production did you people do that you couldn’t edit out a horn in the middle of dialogue?

There’s one particular scene in this debacle that shows the true nature of this parade of godawful beautifully. Watch as Zach, one of our main characters, can’t manage to finish his own joke because he’s—laughing? I guess it’s laughing; it really sounds more like he’s sputtering or trying to play some kind of imaginary brass instrument.

And then, pegging Zach as a lead pipe cinch candidate to take home a Darwin Award, he sticks his hand into some unidentifiable bit of farm machinery and dares anyone, especially the missing member of the group he’s looking for, to turn on the device. And of course, the device engages, taking his hand and ostensibly killing him via the simple expedient of massive blood loss.

Taunting anything in a horror movie—dumber than the rocket-fuel-powered car.

The ending features the new gold standard for idiocy in film as the killer farmer decides he’s going to hide in a meat freezer that can be locked from the outside. Yet despite this baffling show of insanity, neither of our surviving characters seem willing or able to capitalize on this.

The special features include Spanish subtitles, English closed captions, and trailers for “Hard Candy,” “See No Evil,” “An American Haunting,” “Stephen King’s Desperation,” “Are You Scared?” and “The Feeding.”

All in all, how this movie got picked up for distribution is totally beyond me. An amateur wonder that reminds me of a bunch of kids playing with a camcorder down on the farm, “Dark Fields” is the runt of the litter.

Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.


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