Monday, 28 March 2011

HUSK DVD review

Part of the new After Dark Originals series of films, this creepy horror is now out on DVD and Blu-Ray. Watch the trailer and read my review, next...


Set in the remote farmlands of the US, a group of sexy young teens crash their car into a cornfield and are forced to seek refuge in an abandoned farmhouse. Soon members of their party start to go missing, reappearing as zombie-like drones controlled by a supernatural force that lives in the cornfields. The remaining survivors must find a safe way to cross the cornfields and avoid the ominous and deadly scarecrows that line the way out.


Released under the After Dark Originals banner, Husk is the first of a series of 8 films to be released on DVD that were screened at the After Dark: Horrorfest this past year. As to how they've chosen what films to release, if the premise of the film would make for a scary campfire story, you're in. It's a bold leap into film distribution that will appeal to fans of original and creepy horror, although from the looks of the trailers some are of better quality than others.


Husk appears to be one of the better ones, taking what initially seems like a very formulaic, by-the-numbers horror setting and giving it an interesting spin. When we're first introduced to the core main characters, they appear to have driven past the set of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and right into a lower budget copycat film; but there's an interesting supernatural thread to Husk that gives it a bit of an edge.


All of the main characters are complete stock archetypes you'd expect to see in any horror film. There's the pretty girl, the jock, the rebel, the nerd... it's like someone's having The Breakfast Club for Breakfast. It's been done a million times before, be it Texas Chainsaw, Jeepers Creepers or House of Wax, so why should Husk have your attention? Well, it's creepy crowd-pleasing fun; exactly the sort of film you'd expect to see at a midnight screening during a horror film festival. Sure, it's not the most original film ever, but it's good, unsettling fun.


The setting is used to create a claustrophobic and nightmarish maze (or should that be maize?), the 8 foot tall reeds of corn providing cover for the scared teens, as well as the evil within. At times it's hard to keep track of where the threat is coming from, but overall the cornfield is used effectively. The farmhouse is just like every other seemingly safe, remote setting for a horror film... there's more to it than meets the eye.


The trump card the film has is the sack-faced scarecrows that are dotted around the cornfield. I'll not give too much away about their true purpose or origins, but they're the best thing about the film by a long way, and are just the kind of iconic bad guys a film like this needs for word of mouth to take off. Bogged down somewhat by the unnecessary flashback sequences, the Field of Dreams meets Evil Dead story may be better suited to an episode of Supernatural, but at least (to my knowledge) it's an original concept.


Husk may be a bit limited in scope, but ultimately it's fun, scary fare. I'd not be surprised to see a Husk 2 at my video store in the future, and hopefully the rest of the After Dark Originals are of a similarly inventive standard.


Verdict

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