Childhood should be spent without responsibilities or restraints, to know what it is like to have friends and to laugh and play. Stephen Lancellotti has written The Harvest, a tale of stolen childhood and desperation set in suburban America. A family struggling to cope with their terminally ill son, are seen to be doing the best they can, with the resources they have whilst continuing a seemingly normal life. The cast are well-known actors, typically known for picking the non-mainstream and more quirky roles. Michael Shannon’s (Boardwalk Empire, Mud, Bad Boys II) character Richard and his wife Katherine played by Samantha Morton (Minority Report, Longford and Cosmopolis), are both perfect picks for this tense thriller.
Living in the suburbs the family are able to hide away, protect their terminally ill son Andy from all of the outside dangers, but when a young orphan, Maryann, moves to town with her grandparents looking for a new friend, their lives get stressful quickly. Children are observant and investigative, and are often more intelligent than given credit for, Maryann and Andy are key in highlighting this poignant theme. It is very apparent during the first 10 minutes that there is a contrast between the dull and bleak existence of the characters and the bright, glorious, and youthful surroundings. Mimicking the vitality of life and the ominous presence of death. Whilst not being a horror as such it plays on those feelings that horror films do, stress, intense anxiety, panic. Heart rates were accelerated but only a few times, not enough to call this a real horror.
The whole ˜horror’ concept is changing, with the genre becoming broader and broader many films that may not be horrific or scary in any sense are being accepted into the framework, The Harvest is one of these and is surprising to see at Fright Fest, a film festival known for the outrageous. Whilst the film itself is not scary, the content is, with twists in the plot that leave the audience wondering what is going on, and which character should I empathise with. It’s a fast paced horror/thriller that could appeal to the wider audience, not those who are fanatics of the really terrifying.
Unfortunately the whole film is a little drab, the actors almost need to be shaken to life but this is unfortunately the role they were playing. Whilst being perfect cast to play a psychopath and drip, they were not exciting or engrossing. The children were the real stars of this feature film, set for bigger and better things. The writer put half an effort into creating a story and then the producer didn’t deliver it to its full potential. It was irritating after the first hour however the saving grace is the finale and the ˜big reveal’ is something that is both plausible and psychotic, something that it tried to be throughout but never quite made it to the 100% mark.