Written & directed by James I. Nicholson & starring David Zyler, Jamee Natella, and Debbie O’Der. Dark Harvest is a super-low budget (how about no budget?) horror that is basically The Hills Have Eyes but with a killer scarecrow instead.
The basic plot surrounds a group of college students whose van breaks down in the middle of a desert. Forced to hike to shelter they end up entering an Indian burial ground where they wake a murderous scarecrow.
Cue cheap effects, terrible deaths scenes & nudity at the hands of the ‘scarecrow’. Quotation marks necessary because it’s just a person in poorly made costume.
What is surprising about Dark Harvest is how it works hard at giving the characters more depth then you’d expect in such a low-grade offering. The characters are mostly pretty likeable & there is effort to distance itself from who will be the obvious ‘last person standing’.
Not that it matters really as the plot is paper-thin & where the movie should entertain it falls down flat. It’s very boring & it’s near impossible to overlook just how cheap it looks. Thankfully it’s not a movie that takes itself too seriously. There is a bit of tongue in cheek humour to it & the one-liners from the Scarecrow will drive the occasional chuckle out of you.
As the movie progresses it gets steadily worse. The killings increase & the frantic nature of the final third results in performances hitting rock bottom. It’s like everyone is desperate to get their scenes finished & go home. Characters become annoying as their dialogue gets worse & you’re just desperate to see them all die at the hands of the sadistic scarecrow.
It looks & plays out like a student project. If it that was the aim then the movie has done a stand-up job. Its not unwatchable but is far too long & filled with far too many issues to really enjoy.