Remember this one? It’s the one whose VHS box scared this piss out of you as a kid wandering the aisles of Blockbuster. Well, at least it did to me. I literally had nightmares about the titular scarecrows – years before I ever saw the film. Low and behold Netflix Instant brought back my childhood nightmare. Over the years this film has gained considerable status in cult horror circles. So, does it hold up all these years later? Answer: Mostly.
A group of former military bulk-heads rob a bank, hijack a plane, take a couple hostages and head for Mexico. One of the crew decides to bail out of the plane and steal the loot. The others follow and the group, including the hostages all end up in a creepy field full of, you guessed it, scarecrows.
Creepy is the key word as the film relies as much on the atmosphere and understated score than it does anything else. There isn’t a whole lot of explanation about how the scarecrows came to be, they are just there and have a penchant for killing. In this case, and many others, the less you know the better. These things are evil, pure and simple. Sure, there is a story there about some demonic zombieness, but it’s not important.
What seems like a straight-forward heist/killer scarecrow movie eventually turns itself on its head by introducing an idea that all may not be as it seems. It also serves to add a level of depth not seen in the genre often. Especially considering this movie is about killer scarecrows. The whole movie is oddly vague and introduces events and random occurrences that are sure to keep a viewer, at least partially, in the dark.
A lot of people do a lot of dumb things that would never happen in the real world. But, honestly, the average person in a horror film is no smarter than a rock. Sure, it’s unlikely that a recently gutted friend is now alive, but hey, it makes for fun viewing. This also provides plenty of opportunities to yell at your television. And since none of the characters are worth getting to know, it’s kinda fun to root for them to die horribly.
Overall, I dig this film and recommend it to fans of ’80s horror. It falls short of being great, partly due to a slightly underdeveloped plot and weak characters. There just wasn’t a lot to work with based off the direction the film follows. It is, however, supremely atmospheric in a dark, twisted manner. The scarecrows are the things nightmares are made of. Those two things almost make up for everything else.
Also, it’s impossible, in my book, for anything film that is a heist/scarecrow/zombie flick to not be considered at least partially fantastic.
Snore Factor: ZZZ