SCARECROWS *** Canada 2017 Dir: Stu Stone 86 mins
After an afternoon of fun at a secret lagoon, four teenagers find themselves fated to become scarecrows when a farmer captures them for trespassing in his cornfield. Directed by Stu Stone, “Scarecrows” is a simplistic but somewhat fun film utilizing tried-and-true teen horror tropes. Classic slasher movie logic tells us that sexually active, bratty, stereotypical teens (jock/stoner, nerd, bad girl, good girl) will usually meet gruesome ends. “Scarecrows” is no different.
The acting is satisfactory, though three of the four teen characters are portrayed as obnoxious and unlikeable. It is difficult to care about them when the farmer begins his work. The homicidal farmer is an imposing figure in black, just big enough to be threatening. However, the farmer’s motivation for killing trespassers is only touched on and needed more explanation (flashback or some more detailed history). “Scarecrows” infrequent use of blood and gore is rather disappointing. Advertising shows the sewn mouths of the victims and aside from an unfortunate fence injury and a stabbing or two, the film relies more on psychological terror and implied violence than on graphic imagery. However, this may be a case when a more graphic film would be preferred. The story is too straightforward with no twists to set it apart. Had the plot been more complex, the emotional suffering could have been enough, but with an uncomplicated killer with minimal backstory, genre fans could have had creative slayings to “enjoy” (for lack of a better word). It also takes a fair amount of time to arrive at the horror imagery, despite the introduction and a severed finger. Much of the early film is concerned with hormonal teen antics and, though enjoyable, it takes more time than necessary to arrive at the main purpose… turning teens into living scarecrows. Ultimately, “Scarecrows” is a fun film but should prove forgettable… unless you are REALLY into scarecrows.
By “Big” Al Sievertson