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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

'The Harrow' DVD: True Southern Gothic Psychological Terror

breaking glass pictures goes goth regarding the January 24, 2017  DVD release of the 2016 psychological thriller "The Harrow." This tale set in the South is a compelling psychological tale about an affair between a farmhand and the wife of a farmer gone tragically wrong. This future cult classic can be considered a cross between "Of Mice and Men" and "Psycho."

The following YouTube clip of the "Harrow" trailer offers a good glimpse of the mood of this highly atmospheric thriller.

Much of the action occurs ten years after the discovery of the bodies of Gale the aforementioned farm frau and her husband. Although it is determined that the husband killed the wife and then shot himself, much remains a mystery.

A desire for closure brings daughter Ruth back to town; her investigation soon identifies Miller, whom she learns is a farm hand from the time of the deaths, as a potential source of information. That then brings Ruth to the former slaughterhouse where Miller still lives.

Loner Miller predictably initially sends Ruth away; it is equally predictable that her visit stirs up unpleasant memories of the past and that she soon wears him down to the point that he (via flashbacks) gradually tells her the story as he remembers it.

This tale begins with the near-simultaneous arrival of Miller at the farm and the ignition of the spark between Miller and Gale. It also paints the husband as the villain of the piece.

The suspense largely relates to the events leading up to what the audience knows is the central deaths of the film. Additional drama comes in the form of the dredging up of the past causing Miller to increasingly become unhinged ala Jack Nicholson in "The Shining." The comparison extends to essentially a "Here's Johnny" segment near the end of "Harrow."

Another lead that gives Ruth reason to doubt the gospel according to Miller. Anyone who has ever seen a psychological thriller knows that Ruth has good reason for those suspicions. The ultimately revealed truth further proves the adage that there is your story, my story, and the truth.

Writer/director Kevin Stocklin nicely keeps the narrative coherent throughout the regular time shifts in the film. This technique nicely emphasizes the connections between the present and the past; it further highlights the element of some memories being too painful to accurately remember.

As well as Stocklin does with "Harrow" he truly shines regarding his two short films that breaking includes as special features on the DVD. "Eve" is an amusing variation on the Adam and Eve story as told by Eve herself." "The Position" is an equally good story about an accomplished woman undergoing grueling grilling regarding a job that essentially treats her as breeding stock. The twist at the end of this one is especially good.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Harrow" or the shorts is encouraged either to email or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.