Directed by Brett Simmons
Distributed by Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Being a child of the Midwest, I am a sucker for horror in corn fields. Children of the Corn? A longtime favorite of mine that always manages to creep me out no matter how many times I’ve seen it. But when you add killer scarecrows to the mix, for me that’s like finding the prize in the proverbial cereal box so undoubtedly I enjoyed the hell out of Husk, one of the latest features set to be released by After Dark Films as part of their After Dark Originals series.
The beginning of Husk is like a lot of horror movies we’ve seen over the years where we are introduced to a group of kids on a road trip. And while waxing poetic on life, romantic interests, and conflicts that exist amidst this merry band of travelers, suddenly dead birds fall from the sky (art imitating life these days), causing a car crash in the middle of nowhere. That’s when things really get interesting.
When everyone comes to after the accident, driver Chris (Thomason) awakens to find his younger brother, Johnny (Easter), missing from the car and nowhere to be found. As the others start to revive post-accident, they come to realize that the corn fields surrounding them are hiding some very dark secrets; and as they desperately try to find a way home, the travelers begin to understand that the scarecrows guarding the fields aren’t ready to let them go that easily.
As Chris and his friends Brian (Chatham), Natalie (Sursok), and Scott (Graye) go searching the fields for Johnny and explore an abandoned farm in the center of the fields in hopes of finding a phone or assistance, they come to discover what spawned the evil in these corn fields in particular and try to come up with a way to beat the deadly scarecrows at their own game.
It all sounds a little bit hokey, right? Think again. I will be the first to admit I wasn’t looking for Husk to be much more than a “torture-corn” affair, but when things really get cooking inside the abandoned house (I won’t give that part away; the creep factor there is really worth waiting to see for yourself), I was suddenly pulled right into this world of vicious scarecrows that build their own burlap-adorning army with their victims.
And even though there isn’t much going on with a lot of the cast members (everyone handles their parts adequately), the one person from Husk whose performance I really enjoyed was Graye’s portrayal of Scott, the ‘geek’ of the group who channels the darker energies of the mysterious farm and begins to put the puzzle together for everyone. He’s someone I’d like to see more of, both in and out of the horror genre.
The thing about Husk that ultimately worked for me was that it established a set of rules (or a mythology) and stuck to it. Director Simmons (who also penned the script) doesn’t expect us as viewers to believe that supernatural scarecrows exist, but what he does effectively as a storyteller is establish a believable back-story to these creatures and pull you right into the victims’ world with well-paced energy and some really great moments of tension.
And for those that need their corn fields to run red with blood, fear not, as Husk features some awesomely fun gore moments (without being gratuitous) and probably some of the creepiest sewing machine-related moments that would make Leatherface proud.
As with the other After Dark Originals DVD releases, all we have here in terms of special features are a scant couple of things stamped out from the usual DVD assembly line. We get cast and crew audio commentary and a behind-the-scenes featurette. Pity. Husk was one of the best of this year’s batch.
If you’re like me and are up for some deadly scarecrow fun, I definitely urge you to check out Husk. The ending alone is worth the price of admission, and I’m hoping to see what kind of mayhem Simmons can cook up if he gets to turn this film into a franchise.
3 out of 5
2 out of 5
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