Dir. Peter Goddard
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
HARVEST OF THE DEAD is the 4th feature film from Peter Goddard, the British film maker who bought us SEASON OF THE WITCH and ANY MINUTE NOW. This time we see 4 young girls venture out to the country for a camping expedition but while they are there sharing campfire stories, they learn that they are not alone.
Goddard’s vision is only marred by the films budget and at its heart is testament to what could be if he was given enough financial backing to make the film he deserves. Moments of glory are best seen where the budget restraints are known and sometimes less is more however it is great to see such a visionary develop from his first film (SEASON OF THE WITCH) through to this movie. The sound often takes away from the tension where quieter moments are needed and draws to the limited functionality he has as an independent film maker. A reasonable runtime of 90 minutes means the film never outstays its welcome and the variety of deaths and stories does break up the static lull of the wider story building to a horrific finale. HARVEST OF THE DEAD can be pretty hardcore in places and one particular scene of a head caving is not for the feint hearted.
While HARVEST FOR THE DEAD follows a standard narrative, the inclusion of micro stories builds the feature into more of an anthology film akin to the likes of V/H/S as the girls tell their campfire stories which are bought to life on screen. 'Pumpkin Pie' is a particularly haunting short and the film does have enough variety to entertain any horror fan however they do also vary in quality, not through their story but again, reflect on the tight budget that becomes obvious at times.
Despite this, there is plenty of entertainment to have and with a wider release and the films restrictions hark back to the video nasties of the 70s where the obvious imagination to actually show grotesque imagery actually translates as something even crueller. HARVEST OF THE DEAD could be a cult classic for group viewings at Halloween and for those willing to look past the budgetary restraints, HARVEST OF THE DEAD is the gritty side of British horror.
Goddard has been once again been able to translate his creative form onto celluloid and it’s the release of such early films that throw him into the spotlight of the horror community with the hope that one day he will get the budget he so rightly deserves.