May 6th, 2022
MOVIE: ESCAPE THE FIELD
STARRING: THEO ROSSI, JORDAN CLAIRE ROBBINS, SHANE WEST, TAHIRAH SHARIF
DIRECTED BY: EMERSON MOORE
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 1 ½ STARS (Out of 4)
The concept in horror films that involve a collection of people waking up in a mysterious location that turns into a place they must escape from -or else they die- has been done time and again. Saw, 2010’s Predators, Cube, and most recently the Stephen King novella In the Tall Grass, all had that similar concept. It can work and it can be fun but you have to get it right and Escape the Field is unfortunately hoping the concept alone will win you over. Instead it feels like corners are cut and the scares never truly land, leaving us in a maze with six strangers, stuck and hoping for an early escape.
The first person to wake up is Sam (Jordan Claire Robbins), a nurse that wasn’t sure how she got there, but woke up in a cornfield, and in her possession a gun. Next we meet Tyler (Theo Rossi), who has matches, and immediately wants to know how the hell he can get out of there. The rest is like a game of Clue, we meet Cameron (Tahirah Sharif) who has a flask, Ryan (Shane West) has a lantern to see at night, Denise (Elena Juatco) with a knife, and Ethan (Julian Feder) with a compass. What they all begin to notice is that all of their items have dual purposes, for survival, and to figure out how they are going to get out of there.
From a production standpoint, Escape the Field might be one of the more functioning direct to On Demand productions, especially considering that it seems like a pandemic shot film, and there’s obviously a minimal budget. What sadly happens, however, is how director Emerson Moore has his characters moving in circles with nothing happening. There seems to be a mysterious monster of some kind lurking in the corn but that theory never fully comes to fruition, where it feels like the entity out there is stringing us along instead of being a threat. As various characters begin to disappear, Moore tries to mask the lack of scares by showing little of what happens, but loud screaming sounds hoping our senses will do the heavy lifting. Sadly it does nothing for me.
As the plot goes on it’s more of the standard characters getting picked off one-by-one, before they must work together to figure out a way to escape. We witness a scarecrow-like figure in the corn that seems to be a possible entity leaning on a movie like Jeepers Creepers, but even that presence fails to live up to the potential. The more interesting factor happens when the group uses their objects to discover they are pieces of a map, guiding them out, or possibly into worse conditions. It’s that stuff which feels separate from other films that use these plot devices, but when it starts to look promising is when Escape the Field ditches that, and settles for more character deaths.
The acting from the collective group is all on the same plane, with Theo Rossi and Jordan Claire Robbins being the only two willing to give a little bit more, but their characters are also left with more depth to work on. Even with those small victories, Escape the Field fails to succeed at even the standard things they should do, where the jump scares are non-existent, the person or thing behind trapping these people is a nothing burger, and it’s all been done better before. I wanted to find more to appreciate from Escape the Field, but instead it just became a burden instead of a getaway.
ESCAPE THE FIELD IS PLAYING IN SELECT THEATERS FRIDAY MAY 6TH, 2022
1 ½ STARS
Written by: Leo Brady