Last night, the Snarkalecs and I watched the SyFy original horror film, Scarecrow.
Why Were We Watching It?
For the first time in several months, SyFy was actually showing an original film on Saturday night (as opposed to episodes of Sinbad). Since the Snarkalecs have sworn to protest SyFy’s decision to make Thursday movie night, we were naturally very happy to have a movie premiering where we felt it belonged. Needless to say, there was no way that we weren’t going to watch Scarecrow and tweet the hell out of it, if just to let SyFy know that there is an audience for original movies on Saturday.
What Was It About?
A high school teacher takes the Saturday morning detention crew out to a deserted farm so that they can perform a community service by taking apart an old scarecrow and transporting it back to town. However, the scarecrow has other ideas…
Overall, Scarecrow was a surprisingly effective little horror film. The filmmakers didn’t attempt to reinvent the genre but that’s okay. They may have told a familiar story but the important thing is that they told the story well. In the best SyFy tradition, Scarecrow moves quickly and is a lot of fun to watch with a group of friends.
As I watched Scarecrow, I quickly came to realize that the filmmakers understood something very important. Farms — especially deserted farms that sit abandoned out of the middle of nowhere — are inherently creepy. When I was little, my family lived near (and occasionally on) several farms and, as my sisters delight in reminding me, I would get scared anytime we walked or drove by a barn. Can you blame me? Barns, after all, were big, dark buildings that were maintained by taciturn, unsmiling men. Anything could be living inside of a barn, just waiting to reach out and grab a little redheaded girl as she tried to walk by. (Not to mention that barns were full of hay and dust and were not the best place for a girl with severe asthma to be near.) The barns in Scarecrow were just as creepy as the ones from my childhood and they contributed nicely to the film’s horrific atmosphere.
The Scarecrow, itself, was a surprisingly effective monster. Considering the film’s limited budget, the Scarecrow was scary and, even more importantly, believable. He was the type of monster who could have easily popped out of one of my many farm-related nightmares.
What Did Not Work?
This was another one of those horror films in which one of the major characters was essentially responsible for getting almost the entire cast killed off. And yet, nobody ever said, “Hmmm…y’know, that person really screwed things up…” Seriously, if we don’t start to hold people accountable then what hope do we ever have of stopping scarecrows from committing mass murder?
“Oh my God! Just like me!” Moments
Whenever I watch a movie like this, where a group of people end up getting killed largely as a result of their own stupidity, I realize that I probably would not survive a horror movie. Seriously, if I was ever confronted by an axe-wielding maniac, I would so be the type of girl that everyone makes fun of whenever they watch a horror movie. I would be the girl who would end up trying to escape by running up a flight of stairs. In the case of Scarecrow, I guess I would the one who would end up running off into the cornfield by herself.
I also appreciated the scene where two future victims start making out on the school bus. It brought back a lot of memories because, as fun as it was to go to speech and drama tournaments and on field trips, you still had to find some way to pass the time on the bus.
Farms are creepy!