2001 Maniacs: Field Of Screams (2010)

DVD Cover (First Look Home Entertainment Unrated)
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Overall Rating 45%
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Ranked #5,007
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Connections: Two Thousand Maniacs

When this year's round of unsuspecting Northerners fail to show up for their annual Guts N' Glory Jamboree, the residents of Pleasant Valley take their cannibalistic carnival on the road, and head to Iowa, where they encounter spoiled heiresses Rome and Tina Sheraton, and the cast and crew of their "Road Rascals" reality show. Performing "The Bloodiest Show on Earth", our Southern Maniacs prove more than ratings killers. --IMDb
Bill Moseley
Bill Moseley
Lin Shaye
Lin Shaye
Christa Campbell
Christa Campbell
Kevin 'ohGr' Ogilvie
Kevin 'ohGr' Ogilvie
Andrea Leon
Andrea Leon
Review by Chad
Added: September 27, 2010
I honestly had high hopes for Field of Screams. I mean, Herschell Gordon Lewis' original film was a classic, and when Tim Sullivan decided to revisit it with his remake, the results were nothing less than perfection. Those are two movies that horror fans and gorehounds alike will agree on, so really, how could we go wrong with more of the same? Sullivan was back in the directing seat, Lin Shaye was back in front of the camera, and even though Robert Englund passed on returning to the starring role, he was being replaced by no less than Bill Moseley. Unfortunately, a lot can change in five years, including my opinion of one man's talent if this release was any indication.

The story, as you may recall from either of the previous movies, centers around the small southern town of Pleasant Valley. You see, this is a town whose citizens were wiped out by a group of Yankees during the Civil War, but instead of being content to rest in peace, the spirits of these townsfolk return to the land of the living to gain an order of vengeance. Led by Mayor George W. Buckman (Bill Moseley), Granny Boone (Lin Shaye), and Harper Alexander (Nivek Ogre), they hold a grand festival every year and invite some lost group of Northern folk, who they proceed to dismember and dine on. The goal? Kill 2,001 Yankees over the years so that they can finally rest in peace. This year, they'll tack on another half-dozen names to their list.

Speaking of lost Northern folk, there's a certain reality television show that is traveling the country in search of southern hot-spots for the next season of the show. I won't say which show is being parodied, but I'll tell you that the show's stars are Tina (Asa Hope) and Rome (Katy Marie Johnson) Sheraton and assume that you can figure it out. Armed with a handful of cameramen, boyfriends, and producers, the gang eventually stumbles upon a certain little town of demonic cannibals, and we have ourselves a film.

The storyline is weak, as if that wasn't obvious enough from my synopsis. However, this shouldn't have been a problem: it's the same general storyline that was found in the earlier films, and as mentioned, I loved those movies. The point of these movies is to mix together creative kills with gallons of blood while topping the entire thing off with a little T&A and a whole lot of campy humor. High art? Not really, but damned if those movies weren't a blast to pop in and watch again and again. This should have been more of the same, but sadly, it wasn't... not by a long shot.

For starters, the entire affair just feels cheaply made. I'm well-versed in the land of low-budget fare, but this just seemed downright cheap. The camera used to film was not top or even middle of the line, entire scenes are underlit, and there's more dubbed dialogue than one could shake a stick at. The sound editing doesn't fare much better, as some of the dialogue that wasn't dubbed (and even some that was) is almost impossible to hear even after turning your television's volume up to the maximum levels. This hurts the overall experience, but I could have overlooked it had the film provided some fun.

Sadly, it doesn't. One of the first kills of the movie features a young lady getting a buzzsaw to the nether regions, and that scene was just downright beautiful: it was a relatively creative kill, it was painful to watch, and it was bloody as all hell. That's the kind of thing that defines these movies, and after seeing that, I buckled in for another eighty minutes of fun. Unfortunately, that was the last good kill of the movie, as the rest were as mundane as they come. A guy's head explodes: yawn, seen it before. Death by electric chair? Hell, they made an entire movie around that. There is a back-breaking scene that is kind of neat, even though the best part about it is the - wait for it - Brokeback Mountain joke that it was obviously made for.

Speaking of jokes, the humor just doesn't hold up here either. It's still highly offensive, especially if you happen to be Southern, Asian, homosexual, black, blonde, or Jewish, but it's just not funny. The previous movie poked fun at these stereotypes in the same way, but it was done with hilarious results, showing that laughing at ourselves can be funny at times. This time around, it seemed to be there just for the sake of being there. The Asian girl speaks in broken "Engrish" and seems to have learned the language from watching Full Metal Jacket - funny for a scene, but enough to carry a movie? I think not. The Jewish guy will do anything for money, including signing his own death warrant - again, we just need a little something extra to bring the laughs. Oh, and poking fun at Paris Hilton has been done to death, so that part of the movie just felt a little too old-hat to do much for me.

Even the acting was a let-down, as the cast just couldn't do anything with the material they were given. Lin Shaye is excellent, Nivek Ogre isn't great but is certainly entertaining, and that is truly about it. Bill Moseley isn't bad, but he's nowhere near as good as he could be and he's certainly no replacement for Robert Englund. I've seen Moseley really bring his "A"-game in a number of other movies so I know that he has it in him, but here, he seemed to just phone it in for a paycheck. The rest of the cast... well, the less said, the better.

I wouldn't call Field of Screams a complete failure, as it does have one great death sequence, one decent nod to the original film, a handful of jokes that actually work, and yes, even a fair amount of boobies for the men in the audience. It's just nowhere near as good as the previous two films, and even taken as a stand-alone product, it's slightly below average at best. Rent it if you absolutely must, but there's plenty of other, better films that could be placed in your Netflix queue. 4/10.
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