Tuesday, February 13, 2018

A little rant about The Harvest (2013)

Plot twists. Plot twists are hell. Or, as in the case of this attempted return to horror by venerated but dreadfully inconsistent director John McNaughton, twists ruin a perfectly promising bit of American Gothic by the sheer power of their cack-handed stupidity. For if there’s one thing contemporary scriptwriting schools seem to teach their victims, it’s that not only does every script (yes, every single one) need to contain plot twists, it is of vital importance that these twists are as ruinous for the believability of everything that came before as possible and make a mockery of character motivations. If character reactions to the twists are preposterous, too, that’s worth a gold star.

Of course, given this particular film’s love for increasingly dumb plot twists (a lot like McNaughton’s very own Wild Things without the mainstream sleaze, come to think of it), there’s little use in making the characters complex, so everyone is an absurd one-note character whose behaviour is driven exclusively by the needs of lazy plotting, which is a bit of a problem in what at its core seems to be supposed to be a psychologically based thriller. The actors, particularly Samantha Morton, do their best with what they are given, but I’m pretty tired of the old Crazy Clutching Abusive Mom, the Weak Husband, The Woman on The Side, The Sick Kid, The Lonely Nosy Kid, particularly when that’s all they ever are. It’s a rogue’s gallery not really all that different from what you’ll find in a slasher movie, just that nobody’s going to get her tits out (a viewer has to decide for themselves if this is a plus or a minus), and the film they are in could actually use more complex characters.

But hey, plot twists.

No comments: