10/18/2019 06:14

Film: Scarecrows

Year: 1988

Director: William Wesley

Writer: Richard Jefferies and William Wesley

Starring: Ted Vernon, Michael David Simms and Richard Vidan



This was a film that I heard about on a few podcasts, but didn’t remember growing up. I have a feeling this one kind of flew under the radar which is why I didn’t see it back then. After hearing podcasters talk about it though, it definitely intrigued me to check it out. The synopsis is criminals hijack a plane and force the pilot and his daughter to fly them to Mexico. However, an unexpected landing finds them in a cemetery inhabited by killer scarecrows.

As the synopsis states, we hear reports about the criminals while they’re on the plane. The group is Corbin (Ted Vernon), Curry (Michael David Simms), Jack (Richard Vidan), Roxanne (Kristina Sanborn) and Bert (B.J. Turner). The pilot is Al (David Campbell) and his daughter is Kellie (Victoria Christian) along with their dog Dax (Dax Vernon). Their plan is to fly to Mexico, but the military is after them. Things take a turn when they’re double-crossed by Bert. He drops a grenade and jumps off the plane with the money.

He lands in a tree where there are a bunch of scarecrows nearby. He heads for a house where we see the mailbox says the name Fowler. Inside he finds a picture of three men that look pretty backwoods and rough. He didn’t get away completely though. Jack and Curry also jump out the plane after him. Corbin also does as well. Roxanne has Al flying the plane back and forth as they look for him.

Things take a dark turn though when Bert starts to hear things and notice that two of the scarecrows are no longer on their crosses. He is then attacked by one of them. The criminals meet up at the house where they figure out what happened to their traitorous friend and the money. Their nightmare is just beginning.

Now I wanted to go a little bit vague with my recap here, because to be honest there is not a lot to the story. The recap is really the main part of the story and a lot of things aren’t explained. I don’t necessarily hate taking that route, but I do think this one does leave a bit out of it for sure.

What I did really like is the idea of this family, that lives out in the middle of nowhere and they’re doing some kind of rituals, which explains why the scarecrows come back to life. Since things are explained, I started to see if I could piece together their limitations. I do think there is a misstep here. I like that when you’re on the property, they can come after you and eventually use your body if they kill you. There is something that happens at the end I wasn’t the biggest fan of. Something funny that stems from it though. I do have to say I like that they can mimic the voices of people you know. That makes it extra creepy.

I do think that the story is a bit jumbled as well. I think that we jump right into it and it doesn’t seem to mesh at first. I like the idea of our villains being former military. That makes it scarier when they’re going against these scarecrows and being killed, since they have training. I do think this settles in for a good stretch, but there’s a long time without a kill. I understand that there’s not a large cast so that makes it hard, but I do think they could have done a bit better.

I’ve already kind of moved into this, but the pacing was a bit off for me. I think that the movie struggles to find its way at first, settles in, but then kind of meanders for a stretch. It doesn’t ruin the movie, but it did bog it down for me. I would have been fine with them taking out some of things we do get to add in them learning a bit more, because a lot of this story is left up to your imagination. I don’t hate this idea, I’m a story guy so there’s a balance of giving info and yet not force-feeding it. It does build tension even though the ending didn’t necessarily work for me.

That moves me to the acting, which I didn’t mind actually. Vernon I thought was solid. He is interesting, because we don’t get a lot of back-story or character development, but I like that he’s actually a good guy through actions he does and he is actually more of a lone wolf. He played that role just fine. Simms, Vidan and Sanborn all have interesting characters, but the best of this bunch is Simms. I love his breakdown with not being able to handle what he’s seeing. I thought that was a good touch. Christian and Campbell are fine. Turner is in the same boat. Tony Santory, Phil Zenderland and Mike Balog all portrayed the Fowlers and I think they did well as the creatures in this film.

To the effects, there was a bit of a lack of them, but what we got were practical and looked good. The blood is a bit bright. That was probably because of how dark everything is to make sure that we saw it. There are some cool kills, I would just have liked to see a bit more if I’m honest. It is interesting that a podcast covered this as it is part of the 88 Films Slasher series. I wouldn’t necessarily call this a supernatural slasher, but it does kind of fall into that subgenre with how the scarecrows kill. The movie does use a lot of nightvision, which I didn’t mind with how dark out that it is.

Now with that said, this does have some good aspects to it for sure. I like the idea of commandos versus scarecrows here. The concept is pretty solid, but the execution was lacking a bit. I don’t need my hand held, it’s just a little more development could have really made this much better for me. The movie had some issues starting and then it does meander, but I still felt it built tension even though the ending was a bit of a misstep for me. The acting I thought was pretty solid and the effects were as well, I just wanted more there. The soundtrack fit for what was needed and I had no issues there. This is an interesting creature feature that kind of feels like a supernatural slasher at times. I think there could be a good movie here, but after this viewing I feel that it is above average.


My Rating: 6.5 out of 10