Blood Harvest (2023) Review
Blood Harvest, (not to be confused with the 1987 Bill Rebane/Tiny Tim slasher film), bears a 2023 release date on IMDB. But looking through its stats, I found a listing for a 2021 release, which matches its entry on Letterboxd. Whether this is a prerelease or it ended up sitting on a shelf, I’m not sure, but if you get déjà vu watching it, that may explain it.
Neil (Troy Escoda, The Cure Game, Super Turnt) needs to find a job, and soon. But since he lost his last one for stealing from his boss to cover his gambling debts, that doesn’t seem likely. At the end of her rope, his wife Jessica (Deborah Rose Peña, Phantom Song, Call Center) finds them and their kids Maggie (Anabel Moda, The Parody News Network, Orchard) and Jake (Ian Hernandez-Oropeza, Armageddon Time, Over/Under) at a farm owned by her Uncle Ollie (Greg Nutcher, Assault of the Sasquatch, Dark Haul).
They’re barely in the place when Jake, who’s psychic, begins to have visions of a murder, then of a woman having her tongue cut out while others talk about a sacrifice, apparently to save their crops. Not that we needed any visions to know that something was wrong, Ollie for all his talk of taking care of family looks like he loathes all of them and acts generally odd.
While this may be odd, it isn’t overly scary. There’s a lot of wandering around, with Jake’s visions dropped in seemingly randomly. We can tell when he’s having them, they have a distorted and solarized look to them that’s at odds with the main film’s extremely desaturated look.
One thing that both Blood Harvest’s main plot and the visions share, however is sound issues. Several times I had problems making out what characters were saying as the sound would fade, or be drowned out by the wind, passing cars, etc. This is really frustrating in scenes such as when Maggie meets Jeremiah (Robert LaSardo, Section 8, Of the Devil). You can tell he’s warning her, but the sound suddenly drops, cutting off most of it.
There are also several scenes where I’m fairly sure the dialogue was dubbed in after the fact. The words and the character’s mouths don’t always sync up, background noise vanishes when they talk, etc. Blood Harvest has the feel of a film that had technical issues beyond those common to microbudget films. One of the few things I could find out about it was that Seth Metoyer had to replace the entire score at the last minute, which just reinforces that feeling.
Director Danny LeGare (Finders Keepers, Grandpa’s Psycho) who also wrote Blood Harvest based on a story by Metoyer and Michael Hultquist (Arena, 12 Feet Deep) really needed to give the plot something to set it apart in a crowded field. Unfortunately, he doesn’t and the result is a film that’s as hampered by its predictability as it is by its technical issues.
But even if the technical elements were perfect, Blood Harvest’s script is way too obvious to really be effective. The visions of children being killed, the way Neil acts, the way locals Walter (Jason London, Cecil, Mississippi River Sharks) and Annie (Sheila Ball, Assault on VA-33, Lake Artifact) act around the kids, etc. are all giveaways.
But don’t just take my word for it, Blood Harvest was released by Uncork’d Entertainment, who seem to believe there’s no such thing as bad publicity. They send out press releases and make screeners available for everything they distribute, no matter how big a pile of crap it might be. They dumped this to streaming without a peep.