Scream Factory’s THE HARVEST – DVD Review
From director John McNaughton (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer) comes The Harvest. Also known as Can’t Come Out to Play in the UK, The Harvest was released in 2013 at the Chicago International Film Festival and was re-released in 2015 by IFC Films.
The film tells the story of Maryann (Natasha Calis) who moves in with her grandparents after the loss of her mother and father. She befriends a boy named Andy (Charlie Tehan) who is wheelchair bound. Andy is ill and he has to stay inside his home at all times where he is also home schooled by his mother, Katherine (Samantha Morton), who also doesn’t allow Andy have visitors. Andy’s father, Richard (Michael Shannon) while okay with the fact that Andy has a friend is quickly guilt tripped by Katherine who’s behavior throughout the film slowly changes from good to horrible. The film showcases what drastic measures people will do for family and how their actions effect them.
Watching the film, I had a few initial thoughts on what this film could be about. From the get go, you definitely get a very thick vibe that this family may be keeping Andy sick on purpose. But once the ‘plot twist’ if you will happens thanks to our plucky protagonist Maryann, the rest of the film is very predictable from then on. I had a tough time with this film because I didn’t find any of this terrifying or ‘deeply unsettling’ as the DVD box states. However, in the second half of the film there is some mild child abuse and I personally don’t do well with films that involve that particular plot device. So trigger warning for that.
I will say, that aside from the things I didn’t like (and there are quite a few) I was happy with Maryann as a main character. I am glad this film sort of flipped the roles here and it’s about a girl trying to save the boy instead of the other way around. No white knighting here, people. I can also say that Samantha Morton as Katherine was pretty convincing. She went from 0 to 100 quickly and she played that role WELL.
Overall, like I said the film is a glimpse into what some people might do for family if given the right tools and means to do so. I am pretty sure that at some point int his lifetime this has happened and that alone is pretty unsettling.
If you are planning to pick up the DVD when it releases, you’ll get the full length film and a bonus feature of audio commentary from director John McNaughton and producer Steven A. Jones.
The film will be released September 1, 2015 on DVD and Blu-Ray on the Shout! Factory site where it is currently up for pre-order.