★★ out of ★★★★★
Welcome to the stinkiest cornfield in history.
Written by Adam Rodness (Netflix’s Hemlock Grove) and Stuart Stone (TV’s The Thrillusionists) who also directed, Scarecrows gives us a peek into the daily routine of an apparently mute farmer who never outgrew playing with posable action figures. As the movie opens, we see our farmer [Jason J. Thomas; TV’s Friendly Fires (2017)] dragging a new scarecrow out into his cornfield to protect his crop from all the black-feathered ne’er-do-wells. Once he’s done, the camera slowly zooms in and… I’m going to assume this isn’t a spoiler since the trailer already gives it away. Yes, there’s a person under all that burlap.
And with that, you now know the entire storyline of the movie. The less-than-talkative farmer catches people, dresses them up like scarecrows, and then essentially crucifies them in his cornfield. The end. A more generic movie would be hard to make.
Every movie has its protagonists, though. And ours are very nearly as generic as the title of the film. We have Farbsie [Mike Taylor; Beginner’s Luck (2018)] the jock. He may not be very smart, but he knows how to have a good time! And there’s his best friend, Ely [Umed Amin making his film debut], the sorta-nerdy guy who’s hoping to give a promise ring to his longtime girlfriend, Ash [Hannah Gordon; Belushi’s Toilet (2018)], who matches Ely’s slightly nerdy, more reserved nature. Of course, the cliché wouldn’t be complete without Farbsie’s girlfriend, Devon [Maaor Ziv; Viloma (2015)], the… well, since everyone here at The Scariest Things is against shaming of any kind let’s just say she’s “sexually gregarious”.
The hapless quartet are heading out to find a lagoon for an afternoon of sun, fun, and skinny dipping. After which, two things happen. The first being an entirely contrived event that causes them to cross paths with the murderous, silent farmer. The second thing is realizing that, as the viewer, you really don’t care what happens to them. They’re not well developed and not particularly likable. Unfortunately, neither is the killer, so the audience is left with nothing but huge stalks of corn.
Scarecrows isn’t a horrible movie. Cinematography is good, sound quality is decent, and the special effects are simple, but effective. For a quick comparison, you can see from the rating that Scarecrows is actually a better movie than Darkness Wakes (2017). That one nearly came in at a single star due to its significant structural flaws. Scarecrows doesn’t have any of those that I noticed — technically, it’s decently built and flows along reasonably well. The problem is that it’s utterly forgettable. It would almost be “better” if it was horrible. At least then you might remember it as one of those So Bad, It’s Good movies. As it stands, though?
It’s just an hour and twenty minutes of meh.