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Monday, July 23, 2012

Day 205: Farm House

Farm House
Well, it's better than the Out House

As someone who has done a decent amount of driving over the years, I know how easy it is for your mind to wander. You think about all that dangers that may befall you during your travels. You can get a flat, your muffler can fall off, your hose can go. All sorts of things can go wrong. You think you'll be alright because you have a cell phone, but once you get out of the populated areas, you can forget about having service. We've all heard stories about people breaking down and then going to a farmhouse to use their phone. Some of those stories are good (sexy daughter), but most end up with limbs being cut off by a deranged, and possibly deformed, farm family. It's a great setting for horror because the scenario a legitimate, if slightly weird, fear.

Farm House is a 2008 horror movie starring Jamie Anna Allman (The Killing, The Notebook) as Scarlet and William Scott Lee (Pearl Harbor, The Butterfly Effect) at her husband Chad. Chad and Scarlet are trying to make a new life for themselves after the death of the special needs infant son. While driving through the Mid-West, Chad falls asleep and crashes their car. They walk to a local farmhouse, where they meet the owner, Samael (Steven Weber, Single White Female, Wings), his wife Lilith (Kelly Hu, X2, The Scorpion King) and his helper, a deaf boy named Alal. Scarlet tries to use the phone, but the lines are down, caused by their accident. Chad and Scarlet agree to spend the night at the farmhouse. It turns out to be a bad decision as Samael and Lilith kidnap and torture them. It is revealed that Chad had a large gambling debt, and despite telling Scarlet he had paid it off, Samael and Lilith say he owes more. Scarlet is able to escape with the help of Alal, but Samael is able to capture him. He cuts out Alal's eye in hopes of drawing Scarlet out. When that doesn't work, he slits Alal's throat and finds Scarlet. As the torture goes on, it comes to light that Chad was planning to kill himself so Scarlet could get his life insurance policy and pay off his debt. Scarlet convinces him that it is best to kill their son as they could always have more children later. They are able to kill Samael and Lilith and make their escape, but things are not what they seem. How did they end up at this farmhouse and who are Samael and Lilith?

I only have demonic eyes for you

Farm House starts off as your typical “people tortured in the country” horror movie. The story is broken up with bits from Scarlet and Chad's past, telling us all about his debt and their son's medical problems. While that's helpful to explain their motivations, it really kills the movie's momentum. It comes in little drips, but they're not exciting cliff hangers, and come off as more annoying that interesting. It would have been better off telling most of the debt portion of the movie first, with the big reveal that they killed their son closer to the end. I am not one for torture movies, but thankfully the movie isn't just a vehicle for various means of hurting people. That's not to say there aren't some gruesome scenes, it's just not the entire movie. There was one scene where Lilith use a grater on Scarlet's knee that actually made me feel a little queasy. There is a small amount of blood and gore in the movie, but not as much as you'd expect from a movie based around kidnapping and torture.

The movie falls off the rails and crashes into a mountain made of crazy in the last 15 minutes. The movie has a big twist which comes out of nowhere. It's not that it doesn't make sense, it's just never really hinted at beyond the character's names. Foreshadowing is important when doing a movie with a clever twist, but Farmhouse never really gets around to it. Steven Weber and Kelly Hu carry the movie with their fun, twisted performances. They make good villains and almost had me cheering for them, especially after we learn that Scarlet and Chad are murdering scumbags. I don't know if it was his performance or just terrible writing, but William Scott Lee is incredibly annoying. I understand that he's supposed to be a coward, but he doesn't have to be a whiny douche on top of everything. He reminds me of Denny from The Room.

Oh, word?

Farm House is a mediocre torture movie that goes off in an expected at the end. The story itself isn't anything special and the main characters are more annoying than they should be. You can kind of see where things are going and while the twist isn't great, it didn't bother me. There is some decent action and blood, but not as much as you'd think. I could have actually used more if you can believe it. Steven Weber and Kelly Hu are both very good in their roles and should play villains in more movies. While there is a certain creepiness to some scenes, the movie is not scary, which is a shame because it could have been. While it wasn't bad, Farm House is nothing special and could easily be confused for countless other horror movies flooding the market today.


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