The Harvest Movie Review

Written by Richelle Charkot

DVD released by IFC Midnight

Directed by John McNaughton
Written by Stephen Lancellotti
2013, 104 minutes, Not rated 
Released on April 10, 2015

Samantha Morton as Katherine 
Michael Shannon as Richard 
Natasha Calis as Maryann 
Charlie Tahan as Andy 


Being a seasoned watcher of movies in general (which is just a nice way of saying I don't really do a lot with my spare time), it took me all of 35 seconds to guess what happens at the end of The Harvest, just based on the title – and lo and behold I was right. Alongside being an easily predictable story with nothing very new or anxiety-provoking to make it engaging and worth a watch, it is a derailed script that tries to save a dull idea with over-exerted melodrama. Attempts are made to be a serious story of what happens when hell is home, but it feels more like a rip-off of Rob Reiner's Misery.

Michael Shannon and Samantha Morton play Richard and Katherine, a married couple who keep their dying son, Andy, secluded in their home. Andy is wheelchair-bound due to his many ailments and longs for freedom from his bedroom, but his overly-cautious physician mother prohibits him from leaving. Meanwhile, a young girl named Maryann has just moved in with her grandparents after her parents passed away, and decides that she is going to go exploring. She happens upon Andy's house and they quickly become friends because in their own respective times of hardship, they just want something to be stable. After Andy's mother finds out about Maryann's repeated visits, she forbids her to return, which only encourages Maryann to come back in secret. With more orders being disobeyed, Katherine's behaviour becomes more manic and unforgivable. The two teenagers discover deep, dark secrets right in Andy's home, and desperately try to free themselves from the claws that Katherine has dug into her child.

This premise could have been a slow ride to an explosive final act when the big reveal is discovered by Andy and Maryann, but due the cartoonish villain that Katherine is, it is too tonally disjointed. Although Morton depicts the ridiculous character well, her frazzled lunacy is a spot on impression of Kathy Bates' foot smashin' Annie Wilkes, right down to the medical background. The Harvest is undoubtedly trying to be a dark drama about real-world monsters but misses the mark entirely and is one of the most forgettable movies to come out of IFC in a long time.

It is also a major disappointment for fans of the talented Morton and Shannon because it is barely worthy of their presence. Michael Shannon's character Richard is supposed to be a man too overwhelmed by his wife's psychotic habits, but instead of getting the opportunity to play a man at the end of his rope, he just sort of floats on the periphery, to the point where it's a wonder why he's included in the narrative at all. If you want to watch a movie about there being malevolence behind the closed doors of an innocent looking home, there are quite simply too many stronger options to turn to.


Movie: onestar Cover
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