Sunday, April 24

Some quick thoughts on Husk (2011)

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A group of friends find themselves stranded next to an expansive cornfield with their dead crow-plastered ride stuck in a ditch. In the minor accident, one of the early-twenty-somethings simply vanishes as the remaining set out to find him. Spotting a rundown farmhouse in the distance, they split up, and two finally reach the dilapidated ruins to find their lost friend...only a bit dead looking and in a trance sewing a burlap mask. Night falls and something deadly resides within the boundaries of the corn...

(spoilerish throughout)Writer/director Brett Simmons' 2005 short turned feature debut, Husk, is one of the latest in a long line of decent programmers akin to a festering TV dinner of horror. A variety of familiar ideas with steady enough pace and budget to make an innocuous eighty minute sitdown. For some that isn't acceptable while others might complain about how the concept is similar to a host of other horrors. In reality, it's another entry in one of the genre's microbrews, scarecrow terror, told in the modern chairjump-before-atmosphere trend.

Given the brisk duration, Simmons gladly spends little time on the simple set-up before flashes of hay-stuffed figures appear in the night; slicing up the living and literally roping them in for the kill. The mythology surrounding the scarecrow is well-established in flashbacks experienced by one of the victims. Born from a horrible act of sibling murder, some ethereal mumbo-jumbo has given rise to the murderer becoming an equally bloodthirsty scarecrow on the abandoned property his family once inhabited decades ago. The nail-handed strawman can possess his latest kill to become another mad scarecrow by sewing up their own mask and driving spikes in their hands.

Within the ramshackle house, this ritualistic trance is performed by the victim at a sewing machine. Afterward, the zombie can go about dispatching until it's destroyed and another takes its place. At least that's how I took Simmons' delivery of the present day happenings. It's all somewhat unclear since who is the undead minion and who is the "original" scarecrow is lost in the chaos until the climax. There's also the question of why didn't those alive just bash the sewing machine into rubble, especially after seeing the rite completed several times with each victim. Oh well, the harmless Husk is still worth a rental for those who enjoy scarecrow mayhem despite Dark Night of the Scarecrow's throne remaining unchallenged.

1 comment:

Eric Cotenas said...

I gave it a rental this weekend. Not bad. Not great. Nothing new really. The characters were not unlikable and the performances were okay. I liked it up until one of the characters started conveniently having visions of the past to fill in the story.

Overall, one of the more bearable After Dark films I've seen so far, but I still prefer SCARECROWS.

...do you dare tread upon the staircase?
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