I can already hear you asking, C.O.R.N: A Field of Screams? What’s with turning evil’s favourite vegetable into an acronym? It stands for Collective Order of Recreational Necrophilanthropists, the cult walking behind the rows and responsible for the carnage in writer/director Robin Christian’s (Disposable, Bad Company) latest film. Should you break out the popcorn and watch it? Or skip and go for tacos instead?
The prologue sees Toni (Audra Schildhouse) separated from her friends in a corn maze, I’d say a maize maze but that would sound redundant, captured by the cult and turned into a human scarecrow.
Tia (Kennedy Tucker, Shadows of the Dead), her brother Cary (Mateus Ward, Lab Rats: Bionic Island, Sinbad: The Fifth Voyage), and their stepfather Don (Roger Cross, Dark Matter, ReKill) have car troubles in the middle of nowhere. Don goes for help and doesn’t come back. Despite being told to stay in the car, the kids wander off and meet Simon (Dylan Riley Snyder, Crabs!) a creepy-looking dude who’s into taxidermy. He invites them to a party, and after the cops show up they find themselves in the middle of a dark cornfield.
Something of a cross between Children of the Corn, Fear Pharm, and the 2017 film Scarecrows, C.O.R.N: A Field of Screams is yet another film that runs way longer than it needs to. It’s an hour and forty-two minutes long and almost nothing happens in the first forty-two minutes. The cornfield bit ends with one creepy shot, then the next day everyone goes swimming. The swimming scene at least gives the audience some shirtless guys and large breasts in small bikinis for eye candy and a casual mention that one of the girls hasn’t been seen since the party.
This could all have been done in half the time and half the tedium and let the film get to what the audience is watching it for. Not every film has to run long, there are plenty of effective films on streaming platforms that come in at seventy to eighty minutes. Float Trip even delivers a solid, bloody, slasher film in forty-eight minutes. If for some reason C.O.R.N: A Field of Screams had to be that long then maybe use the time on something logical like Tia and Cary try to find out where Don is or let their mother know what’s going on.
Finally, at yet another party the missing girl turns up, stuffed and with her throat cut but even after talking to her and getting no response, Cary doesn’t think anything’s odd about that. Once he finds the door to the house locked he starts to get a clue and A Field of Screams starts to act like a horror film.
Once it gets going A Field of Screams makes an attempt at becoming a fairly decent slasher with some nice ideas like the training class, complete with video, on how best to capture, kill and stuff someone to achieve the most lifelike results. The cult’s leader Mr. Doctor (Robert Donavan, Art of the Dead, Killer Kate!) makes a menacing adversary and, with his hulking goon Otis (Darren Cooper), helps the film through its last act.
For a film about human taxidermy C.O.R.N: A Field of Screams is fairly light on gore, although the one scene we do get is extremely effective. There are also some effective sound effects. And we do get to see some interestingly stitched-together bodies during the party. Still, I can’t help feeling this was a missed opportunity for some outrageous effects. This is supposed to be the start of a trilogy, if it happens maybe we’ll get that in the later films.
This could have been a passable slasher but it goes on way too long with a few too many dumb decisions on the part of both the cast and the filmmakers. Like my last review, Obsidian, C.O.R.N: A Field of Screams should have been trimmed in the script stages and shouldn’t have run longer than eighty minutes. It may get to the horror quicker, but it lacks that film’s over-the-top payoff. If there is a part two hopefully they dispense with the padding and idiot plot devices, the idea has potential and some of it shows here. It just needs a better script.
There doesn’t seem to be a trailer, and searching for one just brought up links for bootleg streams of the film. Which is a good reason to have a trailer and convince people your movie is worth paying for. Unless, of course, you have no faith in your own film. C.O.R.N: A Field of Screams is available for streaming and digital download you can check the production company’s website for more information.