REVIEW: ‘Husk’

Scary scarecrow is scary... kinda in 'Husk".
Scary scarecrow is scary... kinda in 'Husk".

Stop me if you’ve heard this one.

Let me tell you about the horror movie with the bunch of pretty kids who get waylaid somewhere out in the country where there is no cell service and then are attacked by some being of a vaguely supernatural nature. Through a series of bonehead moves, most of them die and just when it might look like one will escape, the bloodthirsty evil rears its head and casts its shadow over the ending.

Familiar story? The trick in telling old stories (or old jokes) is to change them up a bit and give us something that we aren’t expecting. When you don’t and you choose to foist old chestnuts on the public, you are considered a bit of a bore – or at the very least, the people who brought us “Husk”.

The movie starts with a group of friends – young and attractive – on their way out for weekend festivities. Out of nowhere, kamikaze crows batter their windshield and cover it in gore and feathers. They wreck the car, which, for some reason, renders all of them unconscious. They wake to find one of their number missing, no cell signal and something dangerous lurking in a field of corn.

OK, you can stop now.

“Husk” truly is like one of those old jokes, told and retold over the years with few or no changes. Granted, every movie – every movie – follows a formula of one kind or another. When you’re doing with one like this – a patchwork of clichés that was showing signs of wear twenty years ago – you’d better bring something more to the table than the same old tricks. Instead, writer/director Brett Simmons gives us tired tropes and a predictable plot.

But wait! It’s not all bad! Buried underneath it all, there’s a glimmer of a gem, a theme much older than the one commonly used in horror today. It shows promise, but it’s not enough, and that makes it not only irritating but disappointing, like a hot but slightly annoying date who flirts with you all night but then leaves you without so much as a kiss. Stale genre elements easily overwhelm it. You get the stupid, pretty people. You get the stranded in the middle of nowhere. You get the isolated farmhouse. Haunted cornfield. Killer scarecrows. Bad decision-making. The list goes on. If it wasn’t so… ordinary, it might even be funny.

But it’s not.
Sadly, it doesn’t even manage scary.

It does exceed at mundane, though, and it’s a sad testimony to something that could have possibly been more. The cast, for their part, does well, but honestly, they’re really not given much to do. Practical effects are minimal and competent. The gore… well, there isn’t any. I would wager the R rating is more for language than anything else.

“Husk” is yet another entry into the already overflowing catalogue of films that adds nothing to the genre except about another 90 minutes.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one.

Joe Lopez
Dubbed, "TerrorScribe" by a former editor, Joe made the conversion to horror sometime in the mid-2000s. Little did he know he'd favored the genre all of his life. When not struggling with short stories, he provided genre film reviews for local entertainment sites and later genre sites who could suffer his cynical views.

It was that same cynicism - and some might say hubris - that lead him to have a brief flirtation with filmmaking. His first two efforts, "Annotated" and "Antes Que Seja Tarde (Before It's Too Late)" both premiered at a local H.P. Lovecraft film festival. A third short, "Survivor Girl" proved to be his undoing though plans are in the works to revived the cursed project.

Born and raised in Dallas, TX., Joe now resides in a small Texas town. Statistics say more dead bodies turn up in small towns that big cities... though he claims to have NOTHING to do with that.
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