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The Harvest

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    Scyther
    Senior Member

  • Harvest, The



    Released on: September 1st, 2015
    Released by: Shout Factory
    Director: John McNaughton
    Cast: Michael Shannon, Samantha Morton, Peter Fonda, Meadow Williams, Natasha Calis
    Year: 2013
    Purchase on Amazon

    The Movie

    Director John McNaughton's 2013 return to feature length film making is a tough film to watch; a picture which touches on the notion of god complexes, over-protectiveness and parental control in a manner which really hits home with some unsettling performances from its cast.

    Samantha Morton is particularly effective as Katherine, a talented doctor whose son Andy - with dad Michael Shannon - is temporarily confined to a wheelchair, yet whose treatment seems to be based primarily upon keeping the boy at within arm's reach at all times. Natasha Calis plays Maryanne, a new girl in town who befriends Andy - much to his mother's dismay-and it isn't long before Katherine's behavior begins to move from controlling to downright obsessive.

    The Harvest is a bit uneven in the acting department - for every Morton and Shannon there is a Calis, whose performance as Maryanne is bizarrely stilted at times-but the film overall is a big success, and definitely an impressive offering from McNaughton. There's a palpable sense of tension behind Andy's family, and we the audience are often left biting our collective fingernails as to what might happen next. Moreover, when the frightful elements rear their head, they really hit hard from out of nowhere-at least, if you've avoided the film's trailer-and delivers the goods in a powerful manner.

    There's a definite 90s thriller vibe going on here; a dark excursion into the dark underbelly of some serious family drama which centers around the relationships of its characters, and the collective talent of the cast. Shannon's weathered and world-weary appearance fits in perfectly alongside the secrets he himself keeps, while it's also nice to see Peter Fonda show up as Maryanne's grandfather in some brief, but welcomed scenes.

    McNaughton knows what he's doing here, and the script from Stephen Lancelotti spares no anxiety or feelings from its audience-yours truly seriously wanted to throttle Morton's character nearly from the second she appears on screen-but ultimately this is the mark of a good film. The Harvest may be slow going for the first twenty minutes or so, but once the film gets rolling, it's all ramped up tension until its ultimate climax.

    Video/Audio/Extras

    Shout Factory's Blu-Ray of The Harvest is presented in its original 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio in AVC encoded 1080p high definition, and looks quite good. Colors are saturated nicely, black levels are solid, and sound well balanced. There are no instances of artifacting or compression issues, so yeah...this disc is certainly up to Shout Factory's expected quality levels. The audio quality is also nice, with a non-invasive score, and lots of moments of silence where just the sounds of the house and sparse outside territory is allowed to filter into the mix. Again, no issues to report.

    Extras are minimal here, but the disc does come with an audio commentary from both McNaughton and producer Steven A. Jones. There are some dead air spots here and there, but overall, the track moves quick and easy with plenty of facts behind the production and insight from McNaughton-known for his work on Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer-given that The Harvest was his first full length feature after working on the cable television series Masters of Horror.

    The Final Word

    The Harvest may not be the sort of movie one pulls out all too often for a rewatch - it's an exhaustive experience sticking with this story right to the end-but the film definitely merits a viewing from both McNaughton fans and those seeking out a taut and anxiety-ridden thriller.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!





















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