After Dark Originals 2011: Husk (2010)

Well it’s that time of year again.  The holidays are long behind us, visions of a nice warm summer are already consuming our thoughts, and the good folks over at the After Dark label are releasing their new batch of films.  The first of these films I’ve had the (ah-hem) privilege of seeing is HUSK.  How did I see HUSK, you ask?  A screener; no.  Early press pass to its theatrical release; no?  No I saw HUSK on the SyFy channel, and if that don’t summarize this film to a “T” then nothing does!!

First let me explain the difference between the After Dark Horrorfest and Originals monikers.  The new After Dark Originals (ADO) is their new film series that takes the reigns and doesn’t just simply acquire already made films.  According to their website these original films are

comprised of 100% original scripts and not from acquired, previously created films.  After Dark takes complete control of the development of the films, from script to post production in partnership with SyFy and Lionsgate.

Makes sense to light up a cigarette right after a car crash before finding out if there’s any gas leaking out!!

Makes sense, right?  I mean they’ve consistently illustrated over the last few years that they know what makes a (ah-hem) solid film (please note the sarcasm).  But regardless, at least they’re making the effort to put out some original content (ah-hem).  And this brings us to the film HUSK.

HUSK is the story of five twenty-something’s who’re driving through the corn belt on their way to someplace else.  We get the typical dialogue when suddenly a murder of crows (yes that’s what a group of crows is called) slams into the car crashing it into a ditch on the side of the road.  Confused and slightly injured the group gets out of the car and tries to figure out what to do next.  Johnny (Ben Easter) seems the least injured and decides to go out and find some help at the nearest gas station.  But instead of taking the road RIGHT NEXT TO THEM Johnny instead dives into the very dense corn field to find the gas station.  Hey; maybe he needed to find an ethanol station?

Pretty cool image but this just never lives up to it’s potential.

When the others realize Johnny’s been gone for a long time they also decide to jump head long into the dense corn fields and search for him.  Our group consists of couple Natalie and Brian (Tammin Sursok & Wes Chatham), the geek Scott (Devon Graye), and the everyday guy Chris (C.J. Thomason).  Scott and Brian jump into the corn fields first and when Natalie, who’s on some kind of pills, has a mini panic attack she and Chris join in the corn-filled fun.  Now can I just point something out here?  Though I’m not from the corn fields of Nebraska (I grew up in South Jersey and now live in Austin, TX) even I know that corn fields are extremely dense and dangerous to travel through.  It seems to me it’d be extremely easy to loose one’s sense of direction and end up lost for a really long time.  So how is it that even though our twenty-somethings have no idea where they’re going or heading, they all end up at the same farmhouse (buried in the corn fields) practically exiting the corn field at the same friggin’ location!!

I guess he didn’t have the skills to make a “Freddy Glove!!”

Soon after they get to the farmhouse they start getting attacked by a scarecrow with nails hammered through it’s fingers.  I know this film is under the label of After Dark Originals … the key word being “Originals”, but from the moment this flick starts you’ll be plagued with deja vu.  There’s not an original bone, or straw, in it’s floppy scarecrow body.  Writer-director Brett Simmons has nothing new to add to the sub-genre of the “killer scarecrow” and let’s face it, this sub-genre has the potential to be really creepy.  But the potential here is wasted and the execution is poorly done.  When Brian and Scott first get to the farmhouse they of course just walk right in yelling for help.  They walk upstairs and find a dazed Johnny at a sewing machine, nails hammered through his fingers.  After Johnny finishes sewing he simply collapses, but instead of running over and trying to help him, Brian and Scott get preoccupied with a strange noise and seem to completely forget about him.  Good friends.

Then it happens; Simmons writes himself into a corner and needs to come up with something to further progress the story.  Hhmmm; what to do … what to do.  Hey I know; let’s unexpectedly and without explanation give one of the main characters visions about the farmhouse’s past and how this whole mess with the killer scarecrows began.  Really?  This is the best Simmons could come up with?  So geeky Scott, suddenly starts experiencing very detailed visions about the history of the farmhouse and what created the deadly scarecrow (which you quickly realize isn’t a scarecrow at all).  This turns out to primarily be a ghost story … and a silly one at that.  The characters are constantly running around blindly in the corn fields never getting lost; the film breaks it’s own “rules” about the scarecrow not being able to leave the corn field (it leaves plenty of times to go into the farmhouse); it’s full of characters doing stupid things (Chris finds the keys to the car at the farm, gets in, and guns it through the dense corn field until he slams into something, wrecking the car); and it’s full of ridiculous dialogue (“We’re surrounded; we’re surrounded … the corn is everywhere”).

Actress Tammin Sursok (who plays Natalie) looks NOTHING like this in HUSK!!

Thankfully the acting is above average for an After Dark film premiering on SyFy, but it’s nothing that will blow you away.  Everything here is very routine and there’s nothing original going on.  This is pretty much the standard After Dark flick that we’ve all come to expect over the last few years.  Standard story, standard characters doing the same standard things, and the same standard dialogue.  Add to this an extremely convenient way of progressing the plot and you’ve got yourself a 90 minute eye rolling waste of time.  After Dark Originals?  More like After Dark Typicals.  Skip this one.

My Summary:

Director:  Brett Simmons

Plot:  2 out of 5 stars

Gore:  2 out of 10 skulls

Zombie Mayhem:  0 out of 5 brains

Reviewed by Scott Shoyer

Stay Bloody!!!

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19 Responses to After Dark Originals 2011: Husk (2010)

  1. Pingback:Husk « HORRORPEDIA

  2. Vivian Mann says:

    I actually liked though it was supposed to be scary I found it kinda funny! Chris: We’re surrounded! Scott: By what? Chris: THE F’ING CORN! Scott: … Chris: IT’S EVERYWHERE! I laughed so hard at that part! Like as my sister said ” the corn critter” must be comin’!

  3. Goregirl says:

    I didn’t even know After Dark had a separate series of films. My god, Why??!! Why oh why?

    • This new batch of the After Dark Originals, GoreGirl, is THE WORST batch yet. HUSK and 51 were helling horrible … stupid plots, no gore, dumb dialogue, and bad acting. Blech. Worst. Batch. Ever. 🙂

  4. I didn’t hate this one as much as you. While it is full of plot holes and story fillers, I found it somewhat interesting. I thought it had a lot of potential and I so wanted it to be great but it was just average. Didn’t hate it, didn’t love it. There were some good concepts thrown in but they never played on those enough to pull it off. I’m with you on the acting part though, the performances were damn good for this kind of film. I’ll have a full review out later.

    • Even though the acting was indeed better than the average SyFy-After Dark film, the characters did so many stupid things that it was hard to root for them. Buried in the very center of this film …. buried deep down … waaaaay deep down, was an ok, decent idea. But that kernal was surrounded by so much crap and was so poorly executed that there was no way that kernal could bloom. Have you seen 51 yet? Geez that one makes HUSK look like an actual good film!!

  5. emilyi says:

    I also recorded this one of SyFy, mostly because I just can’t turn down an evil scarecrow movie (already watched Hallowed Ground, which aired right before it). I’m sure I’ll say ‘meh,’ but I’m also sure I’ll have to watch it to say it.

  6. mykill furie says:

    “Never lives up to it’s potential” really sums this one up. All the ingredients were there for a really fun and creepy film. I really wanted it to be good cuz scarecrows creep the shit out of me and it’s hard to find a movie that really scares me anymore. But, at every turn they dropped the ball.
    By the time the nerdy guy started having the visions I was just thinking “are you helling kidding me?!” There was no explanation at all. Jeepers Creepers 2 did something similar with one of the girls on the bus having a vision about The Creeper, but at least they gave us something in that they implied that Justin Long’s character’s ghost was trying to warn them and the girl was at least all “whoa! What the hell was that?”
    All in all, a big disappointment. An hour and a half that could have been better spent re-watching Mega-Python vs. Gatoroid!

    • HUSK lost me as soon as the cast started jumping into the dense corn field not worried about getting lost. But I agree; when Scott started having those visions that was the final nail in the coffin. This was a really lame ass film that pissed away a decent set up.

  7. I haven’t seen this movie, but it’s given me a hankering to see a horror movie I haven’t seen since I was a child… Dark Night of the Scarecrow. Did you ever see it? It leaves a lot of unanswered questions, even at the end, but the plot revolves around a group of “good old boys” who believing a local retarded man has hurt a child, go out and lynch him. His mother in the meantime has “hidden” him by dressing him up as a scarecrow and leaving him out in a field. One by one, the men who killed the retarded man are murdered until the last man, the sheriff I believe, comes looking for the mother, convinced she is behind the murders. Then he becomes convinced that the child is responsible for the murders. And then, at the very end, when the sheriff has been buried under a ton of corn in a silo (I think… been at least twenty years since I saw it), the scarecrow comes walking out and offers the little girl a daisy! Now that is a good movie. Whenever you review these Syfy original movies, I get a longing for the “good old days” of horror when the movies actually had a plot, good acting, some mystique. Special effects are cool, but I think they’ve ruined the horror genre… and for certain Syfy is nailing the coffin lid down with these stinkers. If I had the money, I’d start my own science fiction horror channel and put some of the good old movies back on the air. I swear Syfy is a plot to destroy the genre.

    • dobrien says:

      I remember Dark Night of the Scarecrow, and agree quite a solid, good old fashioned tale of revenge from beyond the grave.
      As for Syfy, I wouldn’t say they’re out to destroy the genre, they’ve just gotten really lazy. That, and somewhere along the process of filmmaking, maybe the screenwriting or post-production stage, they hired a 12-year-old who saw his first horror movie six weeks ago. And that first horror movie was The Haunting remake.

    • Of course I’ve seen DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW Candace … you should know me by now!! In fact they screened it at last years Texas Frightmare weekend. That was awesome seeing with a room full of other diehard horror fans. Everyone was cheering the good parts and laughing at the “fun” parts. Good times.

      I agree about the “slow killing” of the genre. I don’t think SyFy is intentionally trying to damage the genre, I just think they’re trying to cash in on the genre by making films that are horrible z-grade versions of better films.

      • I recently heard, and I don’t know how true this is, that the person who basically runs SyFy programming and okays the movies has been repeatedly passed over for promotion and cannot get out of their contract to pursue other avenues and so is intentionally sabotaging the network in the hope that they will be terminated.

      • Wow …. if that’s true Candace that’s really pathetic. That guy must have a boss over him that can override his decisions.

        But let’s not forget that the SyFy Originals get really strong ratings … REALLY strong ratings. People enjoy cheese and I’m totally guilty of that as well. The main difference is that I also recognize what the Originals are, even though that’s why I enjoy them.

      • I wouldn’t mind so much if there was more Brice Campbell in the cheese! 🙂 But what I absolutely hate about the SyFy original movies are the “nature gone bad” scenarios that they seem so very fond of. I mean, how many earthquakes, sunstroke, ice age, meteorite, tornado films do we have to sit through before we get the message… Mother Nature is pissed and we’re all going to die? I just feel that too many of their movies involve a message of Armageddon in keeping with the idea that the world is going to end. Really Syfy? Because… that aspect of our culture hasn’t been rammed down my throat for the past twenty years.

      • Every film would be better with more Bruce Campbell in it!!

        And yes; the threat of armageddon at every human vice is a pretty pathetic plot point. I couldn’t agree more.

      • Gah! I need an edit button. Brice=Bruce stupid fingers