Review: THE SCAR CROW (2009)

SPOILER: This film does not answer the question: “What the (BLEEP) is a Scar Crow?”

 

Directed by: Andy Thompson and Pete Benson

Stars: Anna Tolputt, Maryasia Kay, and Kevyn Connett

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

 

 

 

Scarecrows have often been used as the basis for horror stories. They have been the villains in horror films such as DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW, SCARECROWS, HALLOWED GROUND, and SCARECROW SLAYER. Avid readers may remember a particularly horrifying scarecrow known as Harold in one of the stories from the young adult horror book, SCARY STORIES 3: MORETALES TO CHILL YOUR BONES. Here is another film that prominently utilizes the scarecrow to terrorize the audience, THE SCAR CROW.

THE SCAR CROW tells the tale of three sisters doomed to live eternally on their haggard farm as long as their scarecrow, actually the corpse of their abusive father they murdered defending the youngest sister, is perched on their property. The only way to rid themselves of the scarecrow is to replace him utilizing sacrifices from other victims. Enter a group of guys out on a work-sponsored survival exercise who take refuge on the farm with the intentions of drinking and getting laid. Will the men see through the womens’ seductive glances and spare themselves a horrible fate?

THE SCAR CROW starts out relatively well. The story shows the abuse the girls receive at the hands of their father, and how they get into the scenario they find themselves in. It’s mildly compelling, and sets them up as sympathetic characters. However, as the story continues, the film makes them more conniving and purposefully evil. It’s a jarring shift in their personalities that makes them considerably less interesting. On the other hand, the men who are the other victims in the story never earn our sympathies. They are callous, selfish, and single-minded guys with no charisma or warmth. There is an attempt to make the central male figure, Daz, a likeable guy. But it is difficult to be accepting towards a man trying to make out with a girl while his fiancée is at home. As far as the story itself, it really falls apart after the killing starts. The characters motivations and actions are completely illogical, and the story continually makes less sense than it did before. And when you finally get to the conclusion, good luck making any sense out of what happens and why.

Judging purely from the look and feel of the film, the production must have been very low-budget. Some leniency should be given to the overall effectiveness, but the film shouldn’t come across as cheaply as it does. The script contains a few moments of intrigue and some decent ideas. Yet, the way all of it ties together still feels sloppy and lazy. The directing is very poor. Most of the film feels like the scenes are composed like a stage play or television sitcom, with no desire to make anything within the frame cinematic or even visually attractive. The acting is mostly good, considering the material everyone is working with. The women, particularly, all give better-than-expected performances. The editing is potentially the worst aspect of the film. Scenes rarely transition well. There’s a tendency to intercut brief flashes of violence into unrelated scenes which serves no purpose at all. The special effects are hit-and-miss. Some are very convincing and realistic, while others are not. The music score itself is often very good. However, the way the music is edited into the scenes can be off-putting, even over-the-top at times.

Despite a promising start, THE SCAR CROW never amounts to much. It’s an awkward, inconsistent, and hollow mess of a movie. There are a few appealing ideas. It has some nice acting in it. It also has lots of blood & gore and some nudity for those who are attracted to those elements within a film. But for those seeking an independent horror film with brains to go along with it’s guts, it is best to stay away from this one.

THE SCAR CROW is currently available on DVD. It cannot be recommended by this critic.

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