Case Number 10518

DARK HARVEST 3: SCARECROW

Lionsgate // 2004 // 76 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // December 22nd, 2006

The Charge

This season, he takes his final bounty.

Opening Statement

The franchise made up of pretend sequels unleashes another homegrown horror movie featuring cornfields and killer scarecrows and guess what? It upholds the tradition and stinks like crow poop.

Facts of the Case

So there are these six friends, three boys and three girls. The guys are obnoxious. The girls are semi-attractive. They all pile into a van and head to an abandoned farmhouse, nestled in the middle of a rural town populated by weirdoes. Also of note, the house is supposedly cursed. A witch used to live there. And before she was killed by some yokels, infused a scarecrow with demonic power. Or something to that effect.

What happens then when you mix all these elements, add a few liters of fake blood and convince a couple of faceless, nameless girls to bare their breasts? If you said "magic," then go screw yourself.

The Evidence

This is not a direct sequel to any other film in the Dark Harvest series. The original title of this movie is Skarecrow and it was made in 2004. Lionsgate absorbed it, renamed it Dark Harvest 3 and repackaged it for the unsuspecting masses. And this isn't a new tactic. The studio did it with Dark Harvest 2 (a.k.a. The Maize), a terrible movie that didn't even feature the requisite scarecrow. At least this sorry-ass affair has a killer scarecrow.

Granted, this misdirection isn't really that huge a deal because a) who gives a crap about Dark Harvest story continuity and b) at least some hapless filmmaker gets to see his lame movie sitting on a Blockbuster shelf. That's where the warm fuzzies end with Dark Harvest 3, however; from here on out, it's naught but pain and misery.

There's nothing of value to be found on this disc. Unless you're drunk. And bored. And with drunk, bored friends. Then there might be a molecule of whimsy you could siphon from this disc. I probably shouldn't have written that. You might actually be compelled to track this movie down for a laugh and upon wasting 75 minutes of your life, consumed by anger, you might fight through your rage and drunken stupor, use your Internet search tools, track down my address, and embark on a mission of vengeance, which would likely end up in a mixture of property damage, hand-to-hand combat and incarceration. So forget that I said there was anything redeeming about this movie. There's not. It sucks. Move on.

But to appease my editor and cough up a few more words, I'll elaborate on the details of the dismay that awaits you. First, this movie is cheap. Like, really, really cheap. The opening nighttime sequence is so grainy that details run together to form a hazy paste of pixels and grayness. Perhaps the picture quality wouldn't be so bad if there was any directorial compensation, but the staging is strictly amateur hour; the edits are haphazard, sometimes cutting characters off mid-dialogue (a blessing actually), the acting is Z-grade and the plot itself is a derivative mess.

As for the elements usually found in slasher films (i.e. gore and nudity), yeah it's there, but they are far from worthwhile. The horror gags are limited to a few decapitated dummy heads and some guys walking around drooling Karo syrup. And I don't know what erotic genius thought extreme close-ups of anonymous breasts would be titillating, but he needs to have his Penthouse subscription revoked.

The DVD specs: 1.78:1 non-anamorphic widescreen, harassed by sub-par visual quality, a 5.1 Dolby Digital mix that doesn't do much and a long behind-the-scenes documentary that nobody cares about.

Closing Statement

Who's next to win the Dark Harvest sweepstakes? All you need is a movie about corn or scarecrows or pitchforks! Good luck!

The Verdict

Leave this one hanging in the cornfield.

Review content copyright © 2006 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 70
Audio: 75
Extras: 80
Acting: 40
Story: 50
Judgment: 46

Perp Profile
Studio: Lionsgate
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)

Subtitles:
* English
* Spanish

Running Time: 76 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Rated R

Distinguishing Marks
* Making-of Feature
* Trailers

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0436774/combined