Harvesting, The


“When do we get internet?”

Main Cast: Elena Caruso, Chris Connor

Director: Ivan Krajjevic

Man, I can’t win for losing.  Here we go with another stellar one.

2019’s THE HARVESTING (AKA Soul Harvest) is really two stories that come together in the end to make one.  The problem is that I didn’t care about either story.

On the one hand we’ve got an Amish community where teenager Amos one day takes an ax to his family before grabbing young woman Sarah and dragging her through the woods.  His friend Jacob follows behind, trying to get Amos to stop, insisting there’s something in the woods.  Amos leads Jacob and Sarah to the highway where he says “it” can’t be stopped, then steps in front of a speeding semi.

Some time later, what’s left of the family is trying to get on with their lives, but Jacob has obviously been gripped by whatever resides in the woods.  Before he can bring Sarah along, Grandfather takes Jacob into the woods himself and explains to him that, yes, there is a presence here, but he mustn’t let it take over.

Meanwhile, in story #2, a husband and wife are having problems, so they decide the thing they need is to spend the summer out of the city.  They rent a house in the country where the kids won’t have cell service or internet, where none of their friends are, and where there’s nothing to do but play on the tire swing.

The house is on the outskirts of the Amish community from the first storyline, so now the audience knows the woods the kids keep wanting to play in contain some evil force.

The mother is constantly afraid something is going to happen to her kids, while the dad is clearly losing touch with reality, becoming obsessed with chopping away at SOMETHING in the yard.  Sometimes he’s chopping wood, sometimes he’s just chopping into the stump he uses to chop the wood, so who knows.

We get a few ghostly hijinks—the kids play with a pair of young kids the parents can’t see, the son sees a figure holding an ax in his room and it’s trying to get him to come out to the woods with him, while a shadow keeps peering out from the doorway while the mother meditates on the floor—while back at the Amish farm, Jacob is trying to get Sarah to come into the woods with him.

In the end, we’re treated to an honestly unexpected twist.  Unfortunately it’s not a pleasant enough surprise to make the previous 80-something minutes more interesting.  Trust me when I say you’ve seen THE HARVESTING before.  It might have been called something else and had different stars and a different setting, but there’s absolutely nothing here you haven’t seen already.

The performances were middling.  Elena Caruso (CLOVERFIELD) and Chris Connor (Altered Carbon) as the parents seemed bored, but trying, while the kids, Noah Headley (ST. VINCENT) and Accalia Quintana (Do No Harm), gave a slightly better showing, but nothing memorable.  I didn’t walk away from this one thinking “I need to see what else _____ has done!”

The Amish characters fared no better, giving middle of the road performances for their middle of the road storyline.

Writer Ben Everhart (Personal Space) is going through the motions here, while director Ivan Krajjevic (SHADOWS) is following suit.  They know the movie they’re making and it’s all by the numbers.  This is just another random textbook horror movie.

Fortunately for me, that’s exactly what I was expecting when I watched the trailer, and I only watched it because it was the first in a number of movies I had added to my Freevee watchlist.  With none of them particularly standing out and demanding to be watched first, I grabbed this one and here we are.

Despite not being blown away, I’m not saying THE HARVESTING is a bad movie.  It just wasn’t a memorable one and, in a year when I look back at the title, I won’t remember what it was about.  But if you’ve got 90 minutes to kill and can’t find anything on Netflix, Hulu, Shudder, Paramount+, AMC+, HBO Max, Disney+, Peacock or Tubi to watch, there are worse things on Freevee, I’m sure.  I think I saw HELLRAISER: Judgment was on there and, trust me, that is SO much worse.  Give this one a go if you’re bored.  If not, don’t.  Makes no difference to me.

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