Tom Mattera’s The Fields feels like a movie with good intentions. A lot of time when you’re watching low-budget horror you get the sinking feeling that the genre choice was predicated on how little respect and effort any particular financier has to put into it. This movie feels like a personal labor of love. And unfortunately it’s just not much good.
Dropped off to live with his grandparents in rural wherever while his mom (Tara Reid) gets her life together, Steven (Joshua Ormond) begins to encounter some vague creepiness when he repeatedly ventures into the cornfields just outside their house. And that’s just the problem, the threat level for the film never rises above ‘vague’.
Sure the plot is cohesive and the characters are actually well-defined, but there’s never any feeling of jeopardy. You’re never truly engaged. The whole thing is defiantly flat. And the decision not to expand the palette into something truly threatening kills the movie.
While Joshua Ormond’s Steven makes for a milquetoast protagonist, Cloris Leachman truly hams hit up as his grandmother, Gladys. Chicken meat stuck in her teeth, being accused by her husband of not farting enough, farting in bed later for laughs. It’s not the definition of appealing. Perhaps her performance is some kind septuagenarian feminist manifesto. Unfortunately it does nothing but establish that Steven enjoys his crazy grandmother who encourages him to use the word “colored” rather than the “n-word” slightly more than Tara Reid.
As far as Tara Reid goes, she actually looks reasonably healthy here. Can she act yet? Not really. But she might live and that’s what counts. It’s nice to see her seemingly pulling it together.
So, not to be rude, but this is the kind of stuff that comes to mind when I think about The Fields. It’s not insanely awful or anything, and I’m left thinking about something. Unfortunately I’m just not thinking about how much I liked it.