Dark Harvest review
Dark Harvest is a 1992 shot-on-video scarecrow slasher from James I. Nicholson, a writer and director who apparently went on to do no other projects besides a writing credit on another obscure SOV film called Prison Planet. Intervision has – kindly, I guess? – seen fit to give Dark Harvest a DVD release, collecting this rare film for other horror connoisseurs to experience. However, there’s definitely a reason why the film hasn’t been reaping the benefits of an age of classic revivalism: it’s a pretty awful experience all around.
The film follows a group of hikers as they begin their lengthy hiking trip through the desert. Their van eventually breaks down on the road, and they’re forced to begin their journey early, staying in a portion of the desert that has apparently been infested with killer scarecrows that like to toy with their victims before killing them. There’s also a family of hillbilly maniacs nearby, so overall it’s just not a good place to be stranded.
There’s truly not much to say about Dark Harvest except that it’s a disappointing slasher film. Nicholson’s script is far too unfocused and much of the film spends an exorbitant amount of time on unmemorable characters. One must certainly admire efforts to make the characters a bit more dynamic than most slasher films attempt: Nicholson explores a couple of relationships including one with a guy (Dan Weiss) and his mistress (Patti Negri) dealing with his wavering about divorcing his wife and another couple struggling to figure out if they want to get married. However, it’s wholly unnecessary considering the haphazard main plot, and none of the actors are truly up to the job of selling a realistic relationship.
Most of the film is quite boring, and even clocking in just under 90 minutes, Dark Harvest feels like it’s overly bloated. The scarecrows themselves have a couple of suspenseful scenes, but for the most part they’re underutilized; their scares are ruined, too, by a couple of hokey lines of dialogue. Nicholson’s main focus is getting as many boobs on-screen as possible, which isn’t an entirely flawed decision; it’s just that Dark Harvest is too stuffed with filler for its own good.
Dark Harvest is about as frail as its scarecrows, and although it’s nice for nostalgic viewers to have the ability to revisit this lost SOV on DVD, it’s a sure bet that most will want to steer clear of this harvest.
Click next for the Escapes review.