Cinema Review: The Harvest | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Monday, March 30th, 2020  

The Harvest

Studio: IFC Midnight
Directed by John McNaughton

Apr 13, 2015 Web Exclusive
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What is the point of The Harvest? Directed by John McNaughton of Wild Things fame, billed as a tense if over-the-top horror and starring king of the creeps Michael Shannon, it should be a fun diversion for fans of cheap horror. Unfortunately this one falls flat from the get-go. The usually solid Samantha Morton gives an uneven performance as Katherine, an unhinged doctor who will do anything for her ailing son Andy. Her slightly odd behavior is meant to inspire trepidation and curious fear but instead comes across simply as nonsensical. Her strange way of talking and insistence on complete seclusion for Andy lacks conviction. Instead of fostering intrigue, all this weirdness is merely confusing.

Enter Natasha Calis as Maryann, a young orphan of undefined age looking to befriend Andy thus threatening the reclusive life Katherine works so hard to maintain, and any hope for intrigue is lost. Although Calis does her best with what she is given, Stephen Lancellotti’s screenplay can’t support the youthful relationship at its center.  Both Maryann and Andy look like preteens but talk like young children. Vague and without chemistry, these two characters may operate at the heart of this story but they seem like side-notes in their ambiguousness.

The saving grace should be Michael Shannon as Katherine’s begrudging husband Richard, reliably equal parts creepy and well meaning. But even his performance falls flat amidst a film without style or urgency. A final twist meant to shock and disgust is unsurprising, an unwelcome complication to an already tedious plot. Ultimately, peppered with unresolved metaphors, The Harvest is a thriller without tension, a horror that doesn’t scare.

Author rating: 3/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10


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