tisdag 21 juni 2011

The Empty acre (2007)

On paper The Empty acre looks like a safe bet, it has an interesting plot and a dvdcover full of praise. The story was the main thing for me, a somewhat Stephen Kingish smelling trail of events where something evil lurks in an area of dead land outside a farm in a tiny american town. A young couple spends their days bickering and it is obvious that their six month old baby boy is the the glue that holds them together. When the baby mysteriously dissapears their relationship starts to deteriorate. The wife hears the boy crying from somewhere in the dead piece of land and it doesnt really help that one of the neighbours starts to spread rumours that she is going insane. And who is the man on the nearby farm that seems to be helping the mysterious evil in finding victims?

The Empty acre's greatest strength is that the filmmakers did a good job in creating an unseen evil whose very presence seeps into everything in its vicinity. The story is effective and interesting and helped by a couple of simple but excellent dreamsequences. The cinematography is good but for some reason the great locations arent used very well. Everything is filmed in closeup which does great damage to the otherwise excellent mood. Then it gets worse. The biggest weakness of the movie is the acting where everyone seems to have been give instructions to underplay as much as possible, making it exceptionally hard to feel anything for the characters. Maybe it started out as a horrormovie but then the filmmakers decided to go the arthouse route? I dont know for sure, but the movie never really becomes particularily entertaining. You get the feeling that a newly examined filmschoolbrat freshly indoctrined in the virtues of Bergman and Tarkovskij decided to make a horrormovie the way his masters would have made one, or at least what he thought they would have made one like. The sad thing about such a promising concept it that the movie never feels like that, just low key, slow and empty of any substance. Everything is so ridiculously in the key of minor, especially the soundtrack. It starts out well but slowly slouches into the land of mediocreness, never to return.

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