Fertile Ground DVD Review
Directed by Adam Gierasch
Written by Jace Anderson and Adam Gierasch
2010, Region 2 (PAL), 100 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 23rd May 2011
Gale Harold as Nate Weaver
Leisha Hailey as Emily Weaver
Jonell Kennedy as Brittany McGraw
Chelcie Ross as Avery
The latest film from Adam Gierasch sees a definite change in pace from his usual offerings. From his work with Tobe Hooper in the gruesome Toolbox Murders, to his own grisly, direction style in Autopsy and Night of the Demons, Gierasch has cemented himself as a director of brutal horror films. Fertile Ground is an eerie, haunting tale that takes influence from classic horror, but can it compete with such high previous standards?
A professional couple living in New York are expecting their first child, but while hosting a dinner party with all their friends, Emily (Leisha Hailey) miscarries and due to its severity is told she will not be able to conceive again. To get away from the stresses of their busy lives and Emily’s depression after the miscarriage, her husband Nate (Gale Harold) decides they should move into a house that belonged to his family years ago. They relocate to start their new lives but soon the house starts having an effect on the couple, and after some terrifying revelations about the house and its past, Emily realises history could be repeating itself.
Fertile Ground is the latest release under the After Dark Originals banner and it has taken a slightly different angle from previous features. It is primarily a ghost story, so the script takes a lot of influence from early horror and its scares rely a lot on mood and atmosphere.
The surrounding desolate area of the couple’s new home is a great place to set this film. With no neighbours and town nearby, it is a perfect place to start a creepy tale of isolation, much like The Shining. Ah, it’s that familiar tale of how the sane can go slowly mad that we know and love!
The two lead actors complement each other well, which is essential for an audience to connect with them. When changes start to happen in Nate’s personality it hits hard because we have an idea of how this couple’s relationship is, so the changes shock the audience giving an indication of things to come. I especially loved Leisha Hailey’s performance of a distraught mother to be, her pain is the overriding emotion in the film and it can be distressing to watch at times.
Despite this though, there is not enough to keep this film’s momentum. Current blockbuster horror films rely heavily on the amount of jumps and scares you can get out of people (e.g. Insidious, Paranormal Activity), with Fertile Ground I feel there is a definite missed opportunity to work some more chilling and creepy scares. When the film gets to its climax it is too little to have an effect. It’s a good premise for a film but the execution of the scares does not come off and it left me feeling short changed, I was expecting more than it produced.
The film has a very interesting soundtrack and I like the way the filmmakers have used a mixture of sounds, especially a more upbeat happy soundtrack for the beginning of the film. It almost makes you forget this is a horror film, lulling you into a false sense of security but it becomes apparent early on that the scares are few and far between which means at times the story does drag.
Ultimately this film never gets to its full potential which is disappointing. It’s a shame that there are so many correlations to other classic horror film because it becomes obvious where the story is going and it just can’t compete with its predecessors.
Audio, Video and Special Features:
Not graded as this was a screener.