Monday 23 May 2011


The latest release under the After Dark Originals banner, Fertile Ground is now out on DVD and Blu-Ray. Watch the trailer and read my review, after the jump...

Hoping to restart their lives after suffering a miscarriage, Emily and Nate Weaver (Leisha Hailey and Gale Harold) move back to Nate's family home; a quaint little homestead in the country. Whilst exploring the basement, the couple uncover some startling secrets about the Weaver family history, and soon Emily starts to suffer ghostly visions that hint at the past horrors the house has been a part of.

Part of the recent cavalcade of 'buyer beware' films, all featuring houses with hidden surprises that go beyond a bit of damp, it seems the property ladder is a dangerous thing to get on at the moment.  Broken up into chapters that sound like they could be the titles of future After Dark releases (The Gathering, Strange Occurrings, Revelations), Fertile Ground is more about the handling of grief after the loss of a child.

As the Rosemary's Baby-esque lead Emily, Leisha Hailey does a good job of selling her characters confusion about the situation she's in, keen to rebuild her family but torn over the visions that tarnish the family history she's married into. A lot less time is spent with her husband Nate, so some of his character foibles are harder to buy into.

I'll say something for these After Dark Originals; they certainly are diverse. Whereas Prowl stuck to vampires and Husk gave us an interesting hive-mind villain, Fertile Ground is probably best described as a straight faced version of the Steve Guttenberg comedy, High Spirits; although not nearly as amazing as that sounds. These After Dark Originals are designed as a springboard for future talent, and although writer/director Adam Gierasch shows some promise at shooting horror, he's in need of a more original plot next time.

It's an intriguing title that could carry a multitude of meanings, but perhaps ironically given its name, Fertile Ground breaks no new ground and sticks to showing us things we've all seen time and time again in other horrors. There's Rosemary's Baby mixed with a bit of Wake Wood and a dash of The Shining's Jack Torrence thrown in at the end for good measure. Having no idea how to resolve whatever original ideas it has to offer, it resorts to bringing out the kitchen knives come the climax.

Offering a few jumps here and there but nothing that will stop you from having a good night sleep, Fertile Ground is a passable Friday night rental which, frankly, is all these After Dark Originals ever aim to be.


1 comment: