taken a few years for The Fallow Field to finally
get a release, something that must have frustrated director Leigh
Dovey no end, especially as he saw all manner of British abomination
hitting the shelves. But the film is finally out, thanks to Monster
Pictures, and horror fans can finally see if the film is worthy
of the attention it has had.
Shot on a micro budget, the film shifts from sub-genre to sub-genre,
playing with the idea that it might be a hardcore horror torture
movie at one point before going in a very different direction.
Steve Garry is Matt, an amnesiac who's unexplained disappearances
(and infidelities) are causing his marriage to collapse and the
police to sniff around. Plagued by vague recollections, he finds
himself out in the countryside, where he encounters less than
friendly farmer Calham (Michael Dacre), who seems to know him
already. Attacked and kidnapped by the farmer, Matt is forced
to watch as a woman is tortured and murdered. But just as you
think the film is taking one direction, it shifts gear by revealing
that these murder victims – including Matt – are brought
back to life after being buried in a field, with no memory of
what has happened. Sensing that Matt might be a kindred spirit,
Calham tries to draw him into his sadistic games of abuse and
The Fallow Field has a lot of good stuff going
for it. The twisting plot, the mix of very British rural horror
and the supernatural, and some genuinely moody imagery, particularly
during the night scenes. Dovey clearly has an affinity with creepy
horror, and Calham is a satisfyingly rounded monster, one moment
cold and savage, the next whiney and desperate.
Unfortunately, the film is let down by some rather poor supporting
performances - the curse of low budget British movies, sadly -
and iffy dialogue (one victim never stops talking, trotting out
a frankly unconvincing back story in a blatant but unsuccessful
– and unnecessary - attempt to flesh his character out),
and rather uneven pacing. The film sometimes plods, and could
perhaps benefit from a tighter edit.
However, there is much of interest here, and Dovey certainly shows
himself to be capable of creating an original story and atmospheric
imagery. The soundtrack is effectively dark and unsettling, the
plot twists fascinating and the central idea an original one.
If The Fallow Field is not quite a classic, it's
certainly worth checking out, and there's enough going on here
to suggest that the director could do great things within the
genre. Fingers crossed.
IT NOW (UK)