What would you do if you randomly woke up in a corn field with no memory of how you got there? How would you react? Who would you trust? That’s the premise of Emerson Moore’s new mystery, thriller Escape The Field. Its a low budget, single location film that relies heavily on dialogue and performances to sell the concept. That’s no easy task, and Escape The Field is an admirable attempt with some shining moments. Unfortunately, those moments come and go like a match flickering in the wind. Despite its impressive moments, Escape The Field relies on worn out tropes and cliches to tell a story that feels achingly familiar.
When six strangers wake up in a corn field, they must work together to find a way out. But they soon realize that will be more difficult than they expected. The field is seemingly endless and someone, or something, is hunting them with deadly efficiency. It’s a puzzle… a game. And they are the unwilling participants, forced to play for their own survival.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Emerson Moore after watching the film. He’s an extremely pleasant man with a genuine love for the horror genre. He sipped from his tea and spoke about films like The Shining and Dressed To Kill with a vibrant smile and a contagious enthusiasm. That passion for horror is apparent in Escape The Field. Even in the daylight, the film manages to craft an eerie feeling of unease. There’s something about a corn field. Something that is inherently spooky. It’s like being in the ocean. Free to move around, but unable to see what lurks nearby.
Ironically, given the nature of its story, Escape The Field is a movie that never finds its way. It spends its run time lost… trapped within the realm of the generic and the predictable, and just as desperate to escape it as its characters are. It never brings anything fresh or new to the genre; instead the entire experience feels reminiscent of countless stories to come before it.
With a small cast and an isolated setting, the performances are key. They’re front and center with nothing to hide behind. The two stand outs among the cast are undoubtedly Theo Rossi (Sons of Anarchy) as Tyler, and Shane West (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) as Ryan. Tyler and Ryan act as opposing ends of the spectrum. Tyler is calm, cool and collected. He’s trusting. Ryan, on the other hand, is hot tempered and quick to judgement. It’s these two differing personalities and mindsets that drive the turmoil and distrust among the group. That distrust, as fabricated as it may feel, is the thread that holds the story in place. Sure, there is someone (or something) hunting you down in a corn field, but is the person standing next to you even more dangerous?
Escape The Field is a movie created by a horror fan, for horror fans. And there’s something about that thought that adds a certain level of endearment to the film. However, I found myself wanting more from it and disappointed when it didn’t deliver. In a time when escape themed horror films are abundant, it takes more to stand out. 5/10