Fields of the Dead (2014)

a.k.a The Wretched (USA)

Well made on a low budget, this DTV slasher horror is let down by a poorly written storyline. New Horizon UK R0 DVD.

The Film

A group of college students head out to a remote farm location owned by the University to carry out a few days of research. The location was purchased cheaply because it has a bad reputation as being the location of historic murders. Cheryl starts to act rather strangely and has visions of a murder - seemingly possessed, she starts to attack the other students...

From writer Scott Coleman and director Daniel B. Iske who work on the webseries The Dead Hour, Fields of the Dead is a fair attempt to make an old fashioned horror film. Certainly when it comes to set-piece scary scenes this film succeeds, with some very eerie sequences that make use of subtlety rather than endless jump shocks. The characters are decent as well and although there is not much depth to the characterisation, the dialogue is believable and there are none of the instantly annoying characters that plague many other genre films even if the character of Ashley seems completely superfluous and she spends most of the film complaining.

Unfortunately the storyline simply isn't there - the reason for this group to come out on the location is poorly defined. The explanation for the hauntings is never satisfactorily explained (and not in a 'retaining the mystique' sort of way, simply an underwritten sort of way) and although the pacing is quite fair, the film ends on a pretty dud note with the random death of one of the leads, a nonsense denoument and a pointless coda.

The direction is actually pretty decent - the plentiful night scenes are well lit while the daytime has a typical modern washed out look to it, although it avoids the over-editing and excessive camerawork usually associated with low budget modern horror. Simiarly the film eschews the horrible CGI blood of many recent films, with some good looking practical effects, although there is not much actual gore on display. A generic soundtrack provides a fair backing to the horror scenes.

Both making their first feature film appearances Melanie Recker and Mark Booker are the best in the cast although acting all round is decent enough, there are certainly no stand-out poor performances.

For a micro-budget modern horror flick, Fields of the Dead is far from the worst. Thanks to some good dialogue the pacing is fair, acting is okay, direction is good and with a focus more on creepy hauntings than gore, it has an old fashioned feel and does manage to be genuinely creepy at times, unfortunately the storyline just never makes much sense with a real dud ending, it sinks the film completely. Not recommended, but you could do a lot worse.

In Brief
Anyone famous in it? No-one well known.
Directed by anyone interesting? Daniel B. Iske - an American indie director who has helmed a number of shot projects as part of the Dead Hour web series.
Any gore or violence ? Several very bloody, although not vividly gory deaths.
Any sex or nudity? A couple of very brief topless shots.
Who is it for? Fans of very low budget horror might enjoy this.

Visuals Original Aspect Ratio - 1.78 anamorphic widescreen. Colour.
The clean digital print, no transfer issues.
Audio English 2.0 stero - sounds fine.
Subtitles None
Extras The disc includes
  • Original trailer
Region Region 0 (ALL) - PAL
Other regions? Also available on DVD in the US.
Cuts? Believed to be fully uncut. Print language is English.



All text in this review written by Timothy Young - 7th November 2014.
Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

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