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Dark Fields


A fright-free horror movie

Rod Lott March 4th, 2011

According to writer/director Douglas Schulze, "Dark Fields" was shot in temperatures that often were below freezing. Why, then, is his film so darned slow?

darkfields

You'd think his actors would move around more just to increase their blood flow. Instead, they shuffle around and enunciate every word as if they're trying to stretch out the running time. Since this fright-free horror movie is nearly/needlessly two hours, they needn't have been so purposeful.

The multigenerational tale concerns a family farm whose land is devastated and members driven mad. Wait — haven't we heard that one before? Indeed, we have, in H.P. Lovecraft's 1927 classic short story "The Colour Out of Space." Lovecraft really deserves screen credit on this one, even if the source of the trouble was an alien meteor, not the shaman's curse that Schulze introduces.

To bring his would-be epic to the (small) screen, Schulze enlists such cult talents as Richard Lynch, Dee Wallace Stone, "Evil Dead" vet Ellen Sandweiss and, in one of his last roles, David Carradine. In what is essentially the lead role as a rather mousy coed is Sasha Higgins; it's her debut, and she's not only unimpressive, but at times embarrassing to watch, whether that's reacting to her skin undergoing an unusual transformation or uttering the simplest of lines.

Schulze's movie looks pretty nice, bathed in miserable hues of blue, but that's all it has going for it, despite how proud he his of his work. See, once more, in what is becoming a disturbing recent trend, he's taken it upon himself to make his name part of the onscreen title, as in "Doug Schulze's Dark Fields," as if anyone (outside of his family, at least) spotting his name knows what that means.

You're too early to be a brand, Doug, and since your only other prior films both have IMDb ratings in the 3-out-of-10 range, it's not exactly one to be crowing about. —Rod Lott


 
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