October 16, 2013

Farm House (2008)

(AKA "Farmhouse")

"Farmhouse is a psychological thriller set in the modern day mid-west. We follow a young couple as they leave their everyday lives behind and head out to a new beginning; starting over from scratch. After becoming stranded in an isolated vineyard in the middle of nowhere, the young couple is forced to face the secrets they're running from, all the while trying to escape the malicious intent of the vineyard's mysterious inhabitants."

Here's a blast from the past. Other than the gory torture scenes, I'd completely forgotten about this little gem until I was reading through one of my subreddits and realised that I ought to watch it again. How I forgot to review it is another story, but the end of 2008 and early 2009 wasn't the greatest time for me, and I had far more important things on my mind.

Anyway, having decided to rewatch "Farm House" to refresh my memory, at first I thought, "How many more times is 'Voices' (1973) going to be remade?" Of course, the plot isn't exactly the same, but there are many parallels in the first 30 minutes which should lead you to suspect an equivalent twist ending.

"Farm House" isn't a predictable ghost story though. The majority of the movie is a psychological thriller with extreme torture elements. I know that part of the horror genre has fallen out of favour and died away to nothing, but at the time it was great, especially when coupled with such mean-spiritedness and Kelly Hu being sexy as Hell (pun intended)! It's not that Jamie Anne Allman isn't beautiful in this too, but Kelly Hu is something else! The scene between the two of them involving a cheese grater will haunt you long after this movie ends, and you'll probably never look at a meat thermometer in the same way ever again either!

The acting is superb all round, although Steven Weber's psycho Samael eclipses William Lee Scott's not-quite-heroic Chad and Nick Heyman's valiant attempt at portraing the deaf Alal. The characters are stereotypes to some extent, and clich├ęs abound, but there's actually depth to their characterisation which doesn't happen so much nowadays. How things have gone downhill in only 5 years!

As for the story, it's hard to tell you anything about it without spoiling it for you. Obviously, I don't mind giving spoilers for bad movies, but I prefer to keep them to a minimum for good ones. Suffice it to say that "Farm House" is pretty harrowing stuff and makes director George Bessudo's previous movie "Lake Dead" (2007) seem tame in comparison. If you look up the plot outlines, there are some superficial similarities between the two, of course, but it's like comparing apples to oranges. Everything (including the location, cinematography, and talent) is superior in "Farm House" to anything that was part of the After Dark Horrorfests.

Yes, I know I was going to stick to more "Hallowe'eny" movies this month, but my cunning plan has already been scuppered by a ton of new DVD and VOD releases. I don't suppose it matters much. Any horror movie is good this month, right? But if you want to see something truly horrific, I recommend that you grab yourself a copy of "Farm House" as soon as possible. The "Twilight Zone"-esque reveal goes on for a few minutes too long, but I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Another one for "The Vault".

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