A few years back the After Dark Film Fest began. It started with 8 films shown over 8 nights, horror films that might not have seen release had it not been for this small fest. And from the start it was hit or miss, some good and some not so good horror films. But when they were good they were some of the best horror films to be seen, many small films without major studio budgets or push, but scary none the less. Among the current releases to DVD, HUSK proves to be one of the scary ones.
A group of friends are off for a weekend trip (aren’t they always?). Brian (Wes Chatham) and Natalie (Tammin Sursock) are the couple of the four, together for a while now. Chris (C.J. Thomason) is the smart aleck, the party animal of the group, somewhat jealous at what he feels is the loss of his best friend Brian. Rounding out the group is Scott (Devon Gray), the glasses wearing nerd of the pack, ready for some fun and to finally find a girl over the weekend.
As they head to a weekend of partying on the beach of some lake, they travel down a dirt road that passes between row upon row of corn. When a freak bird attack busts up their windshield causing them to wreck their car, Brain and Scott go in search of help. From the roof of the car they think they see a house and head that direction. Remaining behind, Chris and Natalie form a truce and wait for their friends until Natalie see what she thinks is a boy in the cornfield (no one has heard of Stephen King in one of these movies). Heading that direction she is dragged off by something unseen while Chris chases after.
Reuniting with Brian and Scott they determine something is not right. Worried that something terrible is happening with Natalie, Brian sets off to find her. In the meantime Scott has visions of what is going on, relating back to the original owners of the farmhouse and a troubled young man who gets involved in evil rituals involving the scarecrows seen on the farm. As a person falls victim to the evil and is killed, it takes possession of their body and transforms them into the physical manifestation in the field.
Filled with all sorts of jump moments and creepy visuals, HUSK is scary at times offering a nice mix of in your face portions with skin crawling scenes. There have been other films to use the whole scarecrow as a scary killing character, but this one adds a new twist in their formation and makes them seem perhaps a bit more chilling. The film seems to pull minor ideas from other films but not enough to be called a rip off. Instead, it pulls those ideas together in a new and different way that makes it a story unto itself.
The acting here for what some would consider unknowns is believable and each actor makes the role their own. The photography is great considering much of the story takes place at night in the dark. Too many good horror films have been ruined by not being able to see anything. That’s not the case here. When something is hidden from view its due to the director wanting that, not an incompetent director of photography.
The weakest portion of the movie might be the jump into the whole inter-relationship story. It doesn’t slowly unfold, we find ourselves in the middle of it and have to assume so much so fast. It’s not enough of a problem to ruin the film, but for some that might seem too contrived to suit them.
On the whole this is a satisfying horror film with a touch of gore, a nice story and a great villain that gives you shivers. So turn out the lights, pop in this DVD and prepare for a nice scare. If you dare.