Monday, August 29, 2011

Husk (2011)

Four guys, a gal and a corn place

This is a movie that plays around with the dark and deadly arts of superstitions along the lines of "Scarecrows," "Jeepers Creepers" and "Children of the Corn," where the scarecrows are animated and the surrounding dwelling is alive from some supernatural force that ensnared a group of passers by. It's a survivalist horror that plays more on suspense than exploitation or even creating a gradual, thinking-man's enviroment.

Four guys and a gal of twenty something are driving on a road through cornfields when suddenly crows hit their windshield and cause them to crash. After shaking off the daze, their car won't restart, cell phones have no signal, they're 40 miles from the nearest gas station and if that wasn't enough their friend Johnny is missing. Brian and Scott head off into the seemingly endless, head-high cornfields to find him, while Brian's girlfriend Natalie and the driver Chris stay behind. That was their first mistake. Just as a shark won't be able to get ahold of you outside of the territories of water, the villains won't be able to touch you outside of the maze of corn stalks they prowl behind.

There are a few scattered clues of more dead birds and older rusted cars that they pass by. Brian and Scott spot a light flicking on upstairs of a house from afar. Meanwhile Natalie spots something suspicious, causing her to panic and run back to warn Brian. Within a few moments Brian and Scott encounter a strange sowing room where someone walks in tranced and runs out something entirely different. Natalie gets attacked in a flash and dragged off. They desperately look for her as the sun then begins to set signaling they're all in over their heads now. They formulate some plans from the old farm house with aging and unkept furniture on the other side of where they crashed, but the possessed zombie scarecrows of the corn stand in their way to rescue their friends or launch an escape.

"Husk" starts out rather innocently by seeing the characters get sucked into the horror without forcing it and giving into ominous signs such as thunder-claps and spooky spider-webs, but instead providing physical action. It's capable of keeping your attention with a certain level of mysteriousness without being too vague or confusing. There are some inventive scenarios and then a few other questionable ones that are skipped over to perpetuate the story. Though it maintains a consistent flow with little snippets of backstory fit to its thriller-like pacing that comes with interlaced music to enhance the experience. The characters represent the first victim, the girlfriend in peril, the every-man-for-himself, the follower and the alpha male to take charge. They play out their stereotypes but also throw in some surprises as to their behavior and who gets it. This plays on the usual motivations for action: people going off on their own instead of sticking together, as well as conflicting opinions on what's the best way to get out of the impossible situation.

The picture quality looks a little crisp at times in the digital age, though the sets come with some tarnish and some shots are purposely obscured instead of giving a perfect frame. There's some blood that fits more to the situations than going out of their way to show carnage. Sometimes by just giving a sound effect to give an impression of the violence. The actions of the scarecrows go from fumbling around to having a higher intuition to fit the jumping scare of the scene. Going from mindlessly possessed to self-aware, makes it seem a little too much for the audience's benefit rather than inherent to an actual interaction, though, on the other hand, you're not always able to count on what they'll do next. "Husk" played it straight at times with some conventions but was a quick and above average experience due to how it flowed together by including its own set of rules and a back story that's reminiscent of Cane and Abel in the Old Testament, where blood is spilled and causes a normal place to turn evil. If there's a part two, hopefully a few more things get tighter as the crew created a decent environment and experience with this flick that has the potential to expand.

Rating: 7/10

Director: Brett Simmons
Stars: Devon Graye, Wes Chatham, C.J. Thomason, Tammin Sursok, Ben Easter
Link: IMDB

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