Director – John Oak Dalton (The Girl in the Crawl Space)
Starring – Tom Cherry (Groove Lake, The Girl in the Crawl Space), Chelsi Kern (The Cupid Division, Unexceptional), and Rachael Redolfi (Popcorn Fodder, Haunting Inside)
Release Date – 2019
Rating – 2.5/5
Tagline – “There’s nowhere to hide”
I’m playing catch up on reviews from before Halloween. I marathoned movies all month in preparation for Halloween and reviewed movies as I went along. Sadly, my reviews stacked up a few days before Halloween after I had a death in the family. A few days before Halloween I wanted to watch something new that I had never seen before.
As I looked through my movies I found a recent addition to my collection sent over from director Henrique Couto. The film, Scarecrow County, was directed by John Oak Dalton and recently received a blu release. It’s been a minute since my last scarecrow horror movie and I couldn’t wait to toss it in.
**Spoiler alert**The film follows a small town librarian who receives a box of books belonging to a long deceased teenage boy. While going through the books she finds an old notebook that he had used as a journal up until his death. When she starts investigating the claims inside the journal some towns people begin to be murdered in a way that makes the police suspect suicide. The closer she gets to the truth she more she uncovers a conspiracy surrounding her father, the recently deceased, and several prominent members in the community. **Spoiler Alert**
Henrique is a filmmaker that I greatly admire. I’ve reviewed a good portion of the movies he has directed and a few he produced. He is definitely one that I keep an eye on when he announces a new movie. When I saw he was producing a film directed by John Oak Dalton I was intrigued to say the least. I had spoke with Dalton sometime ago about reviewing his first feature The Girl in the Crawl Space but I was unable to stream due to the internet quality where I live. It looked fun but just wasn’t in the cards at the time. When I saw a blu copy was available for Scarecrow County I went ahead and jumped on it. I’m glad I have it in my collection but it just wasn’t as fun as I was hoping.
The acting in this one is hit and miss with me. I really enjoyed Chelsi Kern ‘s performance. She does a great job in most of her scenes but there was a few where she didn’t feel genuine. I don’t know what the filming time frame was or in what order the film was shot but there is several scenes where she has more confidence in front of the camera than she does in others. Regardless, she does a great job and I’m sure she is going to use this as a learning experience to tackle other horror movies in the future. I also enjoyed the supporting cast for the most part. There is a few characters that struggled with finding their character but the overall film was well acted.
The story for this one is a little more dramatic than horror and struggles with its simplicity but finds itself in the imagery. The movie just doesn’t feel like a horror movie. It feels more like a small town drama with a little mystery scattered throughout. Honestly, you could replace the scarecrow killer with one of the towns’ folk and you have an episode of In the Heat of the Night. It is a bit of a slow one as well which only makes it feel even more less like a movie you would watch during the Halloween season.
Finally, this one does have a few kills spaced throughout. The movie does take on a different tone during these scenes and were highly enjoyable. The film is not a gory one and the practical effects are minimal but the kill scenes are still highly entertaining with the lighting and camera angles. Overall, Scarecrow County is a beautiful film that is on the slow side. Those of you looking for a standard horror film may find this one underwhelming but the death scenes are worth at least one viewing.