Lionsgate // 2004 // 104 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // December 3rd, 2005
New moon. More victims.
The above is the disc's tagline. What I would have chosen: "Hey, it's better than having your nipples hacked off with a utility knife!"
In Dark Harvest 2 (a.k.a. The Maize), we meet a quiet, devoted family man named Shy Walker (Bill Cowell, who also produced, wrote and directed the film). Though he appears to be just another farmer, Walker possesses a psychic ability that distinguishes him from his salt-of-the-earth brethren: he has an uncanny talent of foreseeing the future, often signified by a low-budget visual ripple effect.
On Halloween, he's pasted by one of these premonitions, and what he sees terrifies him -- his two daughters, having entered a corn maze, are stalked (so to speak) and attacked by a mysterious killer. Shy flips out and heads off to the maze, to get to his girls before the murderer does.
What follows is an entire film about a couple of jerks wandering around in a corn maze.
What a blatant screw job this movie is! Now, I've never seen the first Dark Harvest, but after a minimal amount of research, I realized that this film has nothing to do with its predecessor.
It appears Lions Gate grabbed this film called The Maize kept the title as a sub-header, and slapped on "Dark Harvest 2," to give the appearance that it's a sequel.
Granted, this is really just the marketing of a really, really obscure movie that nobody cares about as a sequel to a fairly obscure movie that hardly anybody cares about, so in the grand scheme of things we're talking small potatoes, but it's still shifty and a big fat lie.
Worse, the disc cover art features this cool, murderous-looking scarecrow holding a scythe, leading the hapless, would-be renter to believe that the film is in fact about a cool, murderous scarecrow who kills people with a scythe.
DON'T BE FOOLED!
Dark Harvest 2 has zero scarecrows holding scythes, next to no violence, and is, in fact, not even a horror movie. No this movie is simply unholy crap.
When I described the story as a couple of jerks wandering around a corn maze for the entire film, I meant it. This movie literally takes place in a corn maze, following this guy around as he tries to find his kids. I've had out-patient surgery that was more entertaining than this dreck.
And as an added kick to the balls, Lions Gate misrepresented the runtime; on the disc case it says 88 minutes, but if you think you're getting off that easy, you're wrong buddy-boy -- Dark Harvest 2 clocks in at a numbing 104 minutes! Again, that's 104 minutes of watching corn stalks.
There's some murder-mystery The Shining-rip-off claptrap thrown in too, as Shy Walker uncovers the secret behind the murderer, but that's about all there is to temper the tedious inanity of this film. The actress who plays Shy's wife is pretty hot, though, so there's that.
The straight dope: stay far away from this deceiving little cyst of a movie.
Dark Harvest 2 gets an anamorphic widescreen transfer, a subdued 5.1 mix, and a pointless eight minutes of "behind the scenes" footage set to that music that Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany play at the end of Master of the Commander. Which reminds me -- watch that movie instead.
Do you want to replicate the experience of watching this movie? Grab your camcorder, find the nearest cornfield, and start running around. Or drive nails into your shinbone.
The accused is tossed into a combine and forgotten about.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 104 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Rated R