GOTHIC HARVEST * USA 2019 Dir: Ashley Hamilton. 82 mins
The directorial debut for actor Ashley Hamilton – and written by Chris Kobin (of 2001 MANIACS and SNOOP DOGG’s HOOD OF HORROR) – this tedious New Orleans-set would-be horror picture at least allows co-producers Lin Shaye and Bill Moseley (both of whom deserve far better) to have some fun with their roles. Moseley is an eccentric cop with a ZZ Top beard and lines like “I guess a blow job’s out of the question…” He enjoys the flirtatious attention of Mary Alice Risener, one of four co-eds (with Abbie Gayle, Ashton Leigh, Tanyell Waives) in town for the Mardi Gras. When Gayle goes missing – after getting it on with dishy Kyler Porche- flashbacks reveal Lin Shaye as the matriarch of a Southern family cursed by a voodoo queen 200 years ago and now in regular need of procuring young women to satiate the curse. This lacks the atmosphere of the great New Orleans-set horror and thriller movies of the past – even CANDYMAN: FAREWELL TO THE FLESH made much more effective use of the fascinating backdrop. Flat pacing and a ponderous script light on horror and action make the slender running time feel much longer than it is – and the dull extended flashbacks don’t help matters. The central girls are appealing but have little to work with, and some of the musical choices are simply horrid.
Review by Steven West