Film: Elizabeth Harvest
Director: Sebastian Gutierrez
Writer: Sebastian Gutierrez
Starring: Dylan Baker, Matthew Beard and Carla Gugino
This was a film that I saw on a whim when it was playing at the usual horror film time slot at my local theater. While viewing this, I went back and forth between if this was a horror film or a thriller only. I have decided that it is horror enough for me to write a review on it. The official synopsis is newlywed Elizabeth arrives with her brilliant scientist husband Henry to his magnificent estate. When he goes away for business, she decides to investigate.
As the synopsis states, Elizabeth (Abbey Lee) is in a car with her husband Henry (Ciarán Hinds). They arrive at his amazing house where she is given the grand tour of the large home. It is in the middle of nowhere and it also occupied by two servants. There is a blind young man, Oliver (Matthew Beard), and Claire (Carla Gugino). From the looks we get from Claire, she doesn’t seem to be a big fan of Elizabeth. During the tour there is one room that she is told she cannot enter. Henry leaves her during this honeymoon and she goes into this room. When Henry returns, he is out to kill her.
Now I don’t want you to think by reading that, I’m spoiling this film. This is literally all in the first thirty minutes. What Elizabeth finds in this room had me intrigued and what happens after what Henry does as well. There are quite of reveals in this film, which some of them I did see coming, while others did catch me off guard. This film gets really dark in revealing the character of Henry and the truth of what is really going on here.
Along with this, the film is shot beautifully. There are some scenes that had such vivid colors that made me think of Suspiria and The Neon Demon. Much like these other films, this one used some really interesting camera angles that at times give the film such a surreal feeling. Going along with the surreal feel, is that the house is locked by finger scanners and a code. Lee doesn’t know the code so she can’t get out. Not only is she locked in this house, but it is in the middle of nowhere so build the tension and dread.
There were some pacing issues for me though. There was a lull in the later part of the second act. It didn’t ruin the film, but I was confused as to where it was going to go. It does find its way and I think some of the reveals definitely help with that. I do really like how the film ends as well. It isn’t the happiest ending, which I feel some films get ruined with. While reflecting on it, I thought it is fitting for this film.
The acting in this film was definitely one of the strongest aspects. Lee was great in this film. She seems so out of place, especially when she is talking to Hinds. Her character has such growth by the end of the film that I was really impressed with her performance. She is also pretty easy on the eyes and does get nude in this film. Hinds was also great. He is extremely intelligent that it is almost oppressive. The more we learn about his character, the darker it becomes and I thought he did great there. Beard and Gugino are interesting in their own ways as well. They both did great and they help to piece this film together. I find Gugino to be absolutely beautiful so I’m always glad to see her in films, plus we get to see her partially nude. I didn’t mention earlier that Dylan Baker is in this film as a police officer. He was good as well, even though he doesn’t have a lot screen time.
There’s not a lot in the way of effects for this film and it didn’t really need them. There is blood, which looked quite real. Some of things are done off camera, which that helps and doesn’t hurt the film. There is a scene with someone being shot that looked quite real. I believe it was done practically and I thought it was very well done.
Something else that really helped this film was the score. It is a diverse soundtrack with some of the selections, but they all fit their scenes very well. I was a fan though of the quieter times where there is an ominous track in the background that helps build the dread of what is coming. I definitely thought this was a positive aspect of the film.
Now with that said, this film was one that I definitely enjoyed. I thought the story was pretty deep and it gets revealed throughout the film. It really is driven by the acting, which was really good across the board, and the reveals that get made. The setting of the film helps to build the tension and dread. There were some pacing issues, but it does find its way and I thought the ending was fitting for how things played out. There wasn’t a lot of need for effects in this film, but the ones we got were good. I did think the soundtrack of the film was really good. The selections fit their scenes and helped to build tension as well. This film does have its issues, but overall I thought it was above average.
My Rating: 7 out of 10