Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Farm House

Directed by George Bessudo.
2008. Rated R, 95 minutes.
Jamie Anne Allman
William Lee Scott
Steven Weber
Kelly Hu
Nick Heyman
Jack Donner

Every now and again, I'll watch a movie and I'm not sure what to think about it when I'm done. I'll either watch it again or replay it in my mind as best I can and then contemplate it some more. Whenever this is the case, I'll often hunker down to write a review even though I still don't know if I liked movie or not. Such is the case with Farm House. It's a film I found when I randomly searched for horror movies on YouTube. I vaguely remembered hearing about it when it came out, but it sounded interesting so I clicked "play."

After a brief prologue which comes back into play at the end, we meet Scarlet (Allman) and her husband Chad (Scott). We can tell they're an unhappy couple. Some grand event has made them this way so they've decided to move to Seattle to get a fresh start. Chad is so anxious for this new beginning, he vows to take the twelve hour drive in one shot. As you might imagine, he falls asleep behind the wheel. When he does, he runs off the road and damages the car bad enough that it no longer runs. Luckily, neither he nor Scarlet is hurt. Unluckily, this is a horror movie so it happens in the middle of nowhere with only one house anywhere in sight. This place belongs Sam (Weber) and Lilith (Hu). They seem to be nice enough. It is a bit off-putting how Sam constantly makes fun of Alal (Heyman), the deaf kid that works for them. Other than that, they're a happy go lucky, if a bit too touchy-feely pair. However, it isn't long before Scarlet and Chad find themselves strapped down in the farm house out back and about to get all dead and stuff.

It all sounds like pretty standard scary movie stuff. The difference is what Scarlet and Chad did to get themselves in this situation. I can't say what that is without spoiling the movie, so I'll stop there. That piece of the puzzle is also the reason why I'm so unsure about Farm House. It leaves us without a likable person on either side of the ledger. Having one isn't normally prerequisite to enjoying a movie, but in this case it's needed. When the credits roll we're left without a dog in the fight. Then again, that's kinda the point. The rug is supposed to be pulled from under us. However, as I am writing this I'm realizing a problem. Our two lead actors aren't really compelling enough to have gotten us fully on their side in the first place. Allman isn't too bad as Scarlet, but Scott as her husband gives a dreadfully one-note performance despite a range of emotions being called for.

Throughout Farm House, the sense of dread is palpable. Things also kick up a notch when Sam and Lilith reveal themselves to be the sadistic psychos that they are. Both Weber and Hu have lots of fun with their roles. In fact, they are far more entertaining than our heroes from the first second they show up. Hu's the standout here, giving us a sexy yet ruthless villainness. Then again, that could be my inner-pig speaking since I'm a bit gaga over her. Nevertheless, I'll stand by the statement. Overall, it's a solid low-budget horror flick that utilizes the crazed hillbillies trope, without grotesque appearances and in-breeding mind you, and fuses it with a more overtly ethical and philosophical commentary. In other words, it's a fun watch with a little food for thought thrown in.

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