The Harvest is not gory, a ghost story, or a slasher but more of a rural terror. Set amongst the dusky cornfields of upstate New York, The Harvest tells the story of a young girl Maryann who moves into her grandparents’ home after she’s orphaned. Lonely and depressed, Maryann befriends a neighborhood boy named Andy. Andy is not your typical playmate, for he is deathly ill and bed-ridden. His mother, played by Samantha Morton, is a doctor and controlling of Andy. She bans him from playing with Maryann or leaving his bed for fear of rupturing his condition. His father, Michael Shannon, is also devoted to helping Andy recover, traveling hundreds of miles to get pills that are not on the market.
Andy uses his wheelchair, which his mother usually forbids him from, and plays with Maryann without her knowing. After their frequent playdates, Maryann finds out a terrible secret that the family is hiding. The film keeps you guessing until the very end, which I will not offer any insight into because it is well worth the surprise. The film’s methodical pacing makes for a great payoff. Samantha Morton is phenomenal and terrifying in her crazy mother role, bringing to mind Piper Laurie in Carrie. Michael Shannon delivers in everything he is a part of, and he usually brings along his inherent creepiness factor. The fall foliage makes this the perfect film for Halloween. The Harvest is a chilling domestic horror with no frills, just a small town terror that dissects the coldness of human relationships. The director lets the story breathe- the characters and interactions are chilling all on their own without any embellishments. The Harvest is a quiet horror (at least until the big ending) more concerned with the everyday terror, things you could find in your local news. And perhaps this is what makes the film so chilling — it could be just around the corner.
By Caroline Madden
Caroline hails from the home state of her hero Bruce Springsteen. Some of her favorite films are Amadeus, King Kong, When Harry Met Sally, Raging Bull, The Godfather, Jaws, and An American Werewolf in London. Her absolute favorite will always be The Lord of the Rings trilogy. 70s/80s era Al Pacino and Robert De Niro are her faves. She blogs even more about her film obsession at cinematicvisions.wordpress.com.