A group of friends stranded near a desolate cornfield find shelter in an old farmhouse, though they soon discover the dwelling is the center of a supernatural ritual.
When I first heard the title of the film “Husk” that I would be reviewing, my first thought was that it was about a killer elephant that used its husks as a weapon of mass murder. Hopefully one day I’ll get to see that film. In the meantime, this “Husk” refers to corn husks, and our mass murderer is a scarecrow. It’s been quite some time since I have seen scarecrows be scary. “Scarecrow Gone Wild” wasn’t exactly a prime example of a terrifying experience, well, actually the experience of watching it was, the film wasn’t. “Husk” is an After Dark original made in conjunction with the SyFy Channel. After a short theatrical run with the After Dark Horrorfest, the film premiered on the network on February 5. I have to admit, this was a damn good little movie and can’t wait to check out the “unedited for television” version when it hits DVD on March 29, 2011.
When a group of friends are in an accident that involves several crows smashing into their windshield, they must try to find help from anywhere possible. The impact from the crash has them knocked out and when they awaken, Johnny (Ben Easter) is missing. They quickly have to make a decision and immediately begin looking for help. Scott (Devon Graye) and Brian (Wes Chatham) head off through the cornfield while Natalie (Tammin Sursok) and Chris (C.J. Thomason) stay with the vehicle. Things take a change for the worse when Natalie is attacked by what appears to be a scarecrow and the three friends have to band together in order to survive whatever evil lies within the cornfield.
I was really surprised at how well constructed the film was and the actors did a terrific job, elevating the already well written script up another notch. Cornfields are creepy no matter how you look at it. I have been near them at night and there is no way in hell I would take a stroll through one. There is a very interesting plot point in this film that I won’t reveal here to keep the review spoiler free, but I thought it was incredible and warrants further exploration. The scarecrow attacks are relentless. He strikes fast, hard, and is repetitious. The film relies mostly on our actors, to feel their pain and fear, and remains rather bloodless. It wasn’t an issue for me though since I was so interested in how the scarecrow was actually operating.
For me, it just seemed to feel like our heroes, though they fit the mold of stereotyped characters we are used to seeing in these films, their reactions and how they dealt with the proceedings felt like plausible reactions. It isn’t exactly a real nail biter, though the pacing was designed in a way that keeps you wondering where the events will lead you. It works more as a character driven thriller but it is without question a horror film. There is a small group of people and the film is never about knocking them off and more about how they deal. Scott is the nerd but the spirits talk to him so when the
origins are revealed, we see them through his eyes.
The story itself is nothing really new but the execution by director Brett Simmons was a unique approach and I finally feel as if scarecrows are scary again. I loved the look of the mask and when the scarecrow appears, he is pretty creepy looking. How the scarecrow recruits others and operates is a really great idea. After Dark should really take into consideration for a future Horrorfest to invest in a sequel to this film. The mythology should really be given a chance to be explored more. This is an above average SyFy Original, an above average After Dark entry, and most certainly a horror film that will gain a reputation over time.