DTV (kinda) Hell: Harvest of Fear (text review)

So, I was visiting the Best Buy a while back, and I happened across the bargain DVD bin. I didn’t take much notice at first, but after consulting with a friend of mine who has a fascinating interest in horror movies, regardless of quality, I went back and picked up what seemed like a wonderful bargain. Twelve films on three double-sided DVDs? There is no way this could be a bad purchase. At the very least, it would be entertaining to watch for how bad the movies were, right?

Of course, I was right. From a movie supposedly based on a true story that reminded me of Las Vegas Bloodbath, to a film that actually had real potential about a psychotic preteen and her imaginary murderer friend, the entire collection has managed to do enough wrong that it was totally worth the five dollars I payed. Though, it does cause my PS3 to make funny noises…

It is worth noting that some of these movies did see a release in theaters. However, I imagine most of the people who do see these films now will have to see them on DVD, and the theatrical releases were limited.

In any case, our first (and definitely not last) review from The Bloodbath Collection is of a rather generic slasher flick featuring the apparent cast of an off, off, off broadway musical of Saved by the Bell, and at least two things that remind me of The Waltons. No, seriously.

The first of those things is the older detective that kinda looks like a thin version of Grandpa Walton, who shows up very early in the film, after a bunch of random camera shots of Podunk, USA, many of which have no consistent time length. Meaning, one shot will be on screen for about two seconds, and the next for five, then another for three. Already looking like someone’s student film. Though, to be completely honest, this is probably one of the better movies in the collection.

After that, we open on some dude driving. The lighting is just natural lighting… wait, this movie has a narrator? What’s the point of that? And no, this guy is not a constant in the movie, it’s just thrown in at the beginning for no good reason. Then, we get to watch two teenagers get drunk in the woods. Or, at least that’s what I think is happening, but there is no lighting, so I can’t see anything. It ends up being quite disorienting as the characters track noises in the woods before… oh, right, slasher film. Contractually obligated tits, then the killer shows up. Hilariously, the girl stands there and screams for about 15 seconds, then runs off, still topless and carrying her shirt. You know, you could have used those 15 seconds to either put your shirt on or run sooner, either way you’d seem less like a moron. Oh, and the masked killer finds and kills her shortly afterward.

So, in the next scene we meet Detective Walton here, as he reads what is apparently a newspaper from the future, as it is advertising getting your pet’s picture taken with Santa! In the middle of autumn? Seems a bit early for that. Oh, and they spelled harvest wrong on their fake paper. The title of your movie is Harvest of Fear, I would think you might have caught that. The old man is shocked at the headline, but seems to have that new dishware that doesn’t break when you drop it to the floor in stunned disbelief five seconds too late. Turns out he investigated the same kind of murders years ago. Oh, and we will be spending a lot of time with the police, who are all either idiots or scumbags. Possibly both!

Now, we meet our main character as he walks into a Taxidermist/Doctor’s Office. Ooh, bad combination. The kid’s name is Billy, and instead of the doctor actually giving a proper introduction, he just shows Billy a dead half-naked girl. Interesting. Then again, every time the doctor opens his mouth he shows how much he can’t act. The doc is Jim, and his female assistant looks like she actually belongs in a horror movie. Her name is Stacy. These are our main characters, and not a one of them is a decent actor. Of course, with the script as bad as this, I suppose “Disney teen sitcom extra” was the best they could hope for in skill level. Oh, and one of the cops is a jilted obsessive ex-boyfriend. Oh, and cut to the next couple to die. Cue murderer. Done and done, thank you.

So, our main characters meet for coffee, and the dumbass ex-boyfriend is here instead of maybe investigating the obvious murders. Hooray. Exposition, Jake is a crooked cop, and the pair head to a coffee shop simply called “Coffee.” Huh, well, I guess that’s pretty clear. Ugh, this ex-boyfriend subplot is painful to watch. This whole movie is like every possible cliché all rolled into one hour and a half pile of festering animal parts.

Okay, so there’s a scene now of a pair of girls we haven’t seen before now talking in a kitchen, with the camera in possibly the worst place to view their conversation. We then get two guys to show up, and instantly this movie has no likable characters. It’s official now. Of course, that works well for a horror movie. The sheriff heads over to talk to a pair of rednecks who, even in this movie, look too out of place. And, of course, the second Waltons reminder, one of the rednecks is drinking water from a mason jar. I can’t help thinking of the Recipe, a special moonshine that two sweet old ladies made in the series.

We cut to a bar, and cut back an forth between that and some dumbasses getting wasted in a basement as the movie tells us the story of the killings twenty years ago. Oh, and we cut to the Sheriff’s office too. Can we please stick to one damn storyteller, please? And of course, we end with the idiot drunk kids. By the way, I do not buy the “romance” between the main characters. Nobody does. Nobody could. So, two more people wander off alone to the tool shed for some of that there sex, and I swear I’m watching a bad attempt as Saved by the Bell porn. At least Kelly is smart enough to make Zack put on a condom, but the people inside the house want their beers, so Screech is sent out to find him. And I’m just waiting for the killer to show up and end this scene, for the audience’s sake. Yay, pitchfork!

Apparently, Billy likes to get drunk and fall asleep on his couch, because that’s where he is when he gets the call to go scoop up Zack and Kelly.

“Looks like he got forked up.” Okay, that’s one good joke. At least the random student characters know they’re in a horror film. In any case, the sheriff and his deputies talk about the case, and the sheriff has the gall to actually use the line, “This isn’t a movie, we’re not chasing Freddy and Jason.” Yeah, it’s more a ripoff of the Scream guy in appearance. Or, maybe Jigsaw? Kinda, yeah. Anyway, we start the marathon killing spree now, and at a costume party, no less. Three people, all in a few minutes. Oh, and he moves on to kill a couple who, honestly, hasn’t done much wrong in the movie. Well, they are an interracial couple in a town with rednecks, so maybe that’s the motivator?

In any case, Billy happens across some files in the doctor’s basement that implicate him as behind all the killings, but the story isn’t over yet, as we have yet to finish with the ex-boyfriend subplot. Oh, and a rather cryptic clue. “Who was the 25th President of the United States?” Kind of a nice prize for huge history buffs, considering that the answer spoils the twist ending. The ending, however, is confusing enough just being shot in the dark with terrible lighting like the rest of the night shots in the movie. The jackass boyfriend gets hurt, and the doctor gets killed, right before the ending in which we find out that, surprise surprise, the killer is our main character. Oh, yay, like that feels even remotely satisfying. Especially after all the scenes that went into making the doctor a complete sleezeball.

This is, obviously, a bad movie. The camera work is questionable, the lighting is absolutely horrendous, the death effects are mediocre at best, and the ex-boyfriend subplot is completely cliched and pointless. Beyond that, it’s a by-the-numbers slasher flick that lacks anything interesting or original enough to actually stand out. Probably the reason it is trapped in a movie collection with 11 other low quality movies.

The circle this movie belongs in is, or course, violence, though to be honest, I’m less willing to even bother putting it in any circle. This was released in theaters, albeit a limited release like The Time Changer, but I guess it doesn’t much matter. I am free to review whatever I please, but next week is definitely a return to good old Direct to Video productions.

For it is time for the second of the Apocalypse quadrilogy, Revelations. A movie that I, strangely enough, actually kind of like.

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