THE GIRL IN THE CORNFIELD lacks the tension of a stiff breeze
There are some movies from unknown directors you watch and you just want to pat them on the back and say, “nice try” and “good effort.” Then you have movies like The Girl In the Cornfield and you see an unfortunate pattern. Directors who don’t learn from previous attempts and 80’s B-horror movies are doomed to make The Girl In the Cornfield.
Probably more than once.
From IMDB, “Three young women traveling along a dark country road encounter a mysterious girl in a white dress who turns out to be far more than she seems.”
You might want to watch that movie.
I wanted to watch that movie. That isn’t the movie I watched. Somewhere between the initial concept and post-production, the wheels fell off this idea and became:
Heather, Tiffany, and Corrine are heading home after a party when Heather (Briana Aceti) accidentally runs over a woman in the road. They try looking for her but can only find a ridiculous amount of blood. Guilty, they call the authorities and head home, promising to head back and look for the woman they hit. Little Sister, Tiffany (Madeline Lupi) is deeply traumatized and begins a search of her own. Best friend Corrine (Tina Duong) also needs closure, and is the first to experience unsettling dreams. Heather spends a lot of time looking manic because that’s all she’s given to do.
The next day the entire town heads out to look for the injured woman who must be scared and hurt.
Actually, no. there is no search the next day (or, you know, ever). No one other than Heather, Corrine and Tiffany ever look for her. Silver Hill is harsh place. There are two theories as to why but neither of them hold water.
When we get a reveal at the 52 minute mark, it invalidates the first 51 minutes, but that’s just details, right? Woman In Bathrobe (she’s never identified, could be a crazy patient, for all we know), just gives a major swivel to the plot. I take that back. It takes the plot, shelves it, and tries to shoehorn a new movie in it’s place. Ancient goddess, feeding the corn with blood, and yes, friend, your Magical Negro trope. It’s information dumping at it’s worse because it doesn’t fit. Throw in your people sitting in dark cars with non-working dome lights and it creeps beyong “low budget” to “amateur with iPhone”. It was the actual end, however that made me cross Ryan Callaway off my off my watch list pretty much forever.
With a running time of 81 minutes, should have been half of that. There’s no tension, which has as much to do with the score as the script, no actual fear, and so much melodrama. I would expect this from a rookie writer/director, not from someone with a few novels and features under belt. This isn’t a scary movie.
The Girl In The Cornfield has a very thin script picking the pockets of Children of the Corn (1984), and a trio of actors working hard with what they have. Hats off to Tina Duong and Madeline Lupi for making the best of a bad situation. Everything else about is clunky and forced and that lies on the shoulders of the director. Long establishing shots (yep, that’s still corn) and really, really long reaction shots. The director wants you to see what’s lurking in the distance (did you seeit? are you sure? are you sure?) in case you forgot how movies work. There’s a later scene where an actor is “recovering from a hard scare” and she pants and pants and pants and pants and pants and pants and WE GET IT WE SEE THE GIRL IN THE BACKGROUND.
Also – “Annelise(a) Michel” really? Bit on the nose, don’t you think?
My personal pet peeve – tight focused shots that only reveal what the camera wants you to see, instead of the full 200° x 135° field of view the human eye has. You walk into the room, you will see the body hanging on the door, not just the bowl of blood beneath it. Unless you have extreme tunnel vision, in which case Heather was indeed negligent when driving the night she had her accident.
If you care to use this film as a “How Not To”, it’s streaming on Amazon, and if you have Prime, you don’t have to pay for it (bonus). This is a movie played for cheap cheats, and fans of the genre don’t like being cheated out of their time.
The Girl In The Cornfield is NR, has the tamest ABC Afterschool Special Halloween scares, and is currently streaming on Amazon Video.
If you couldn’t tell, this is a Do Not Recommend.