The Fallow Field (2009) Poster

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parry_na20 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Matt Sadler (Steve Garry) wakes up in a field. He doesn't have any memory of how he got there. As his wearied girlfriend reminds him, this isn't the first time this has happened. He has been missing for ten days. She decides to leave him. Apart from anything else, she strongly suspects he is seeing someone else – which turns out to be true. Within moments, his second girlfriend decides she's had enough too. Within minutes, we know Sadler is devious, but we also have a certain empathy for his memory loss, and we don't blame him when he tries to find out what is happening.

His uncertain searching leads him to the isolated farmhouse of Calham (Michael Dacre). The minimalist soundtrack makes it apparent Calham is a bad egg. When he calls the surrounding ground 'real fertile', the words have an ominous ring. The direction is very effective here; Calham appears to be approaching the cameras and therefore the audience, Sadler seems to be backing away from it. And he is right too. Shortly, Sadler is chained and naked apart from a sack cloth over his head. This is how he has apparently been spending his time during his blackouts, aiding the stocky farmer in his gruesome 'work' – work which has clearly effected his mind.

Calham's subsequent kidnaps and torture are carried out with slow deliberation. Too slow sometimes, as this rural horror stretches the thin but gruesome plot rather too much. The intensity between the main two characters is impressively played, but perhaps not quite interesting enough to take up so much of the 100 minutes running time. This is a slow burning horror that manages to hold the attention if not exactly excite it.
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africe30 July 2019
This film is far too drawn out and boring. The male lead is constantly puking at every little thing and not much of an actor. As for being a horror movie.... a big fail there. More like inbreds gone wild lol. I got a little over half way through before I was fed up waiting for something interesting to happen. I wanted the hour of my life back
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One man's quest to solve nightmares that lead to a bloody hunt - with a twist.
fiwebster28 April 2010
It is sadly hard to get to see Fallow Field and when you do you hope it gets the audience it deserves. Leigh Dovey's quintessential indie horror starts with a visually stunning introduction to a rural setting, that somehow combines the beauty of the countryside with impending menace. Matt Sadler (Stave Garry) regains consciousness in the middle of nowhere, clueless as to how he has got there. Yes we've all been there, but this has happened to Sadler with alarming regularity, producing nightmares and feelings of déjà vu. When he makes it home a weary cop (Angus Kennedy) think he's been on the lash while his wife assumes he's seeing someone else. He is, but in a nice twist, his disgruntled mistress decides she's had enough too. Diving straight into the story at commendable speed, Sadler, now ominously alone, sets out to discover where he's been and why - and soon wishes he hadn't. He finds himself at a remote farmhouse where he meets farmer Calham, played by Michael Dacre (Nuryan), a powerful man who exudes isolation and menace. Calham has kids' drawings on one wall and a collection of man sized meat hooks on the other plus a great deal of blood in his barn. Turn back Sadler! But of course he doesn't, and we, as desperate as him to find some answers, wouldn't want him to. Without wishing to give away too much of the plot, what follows is a cat and mouse game between Sadler and Calham, both men with a past, who form a deadly and dependant relationship. A shocking plot twist early on makes you realise this is no ordinary horror and the arrival of two other visitors to the farm (nicely drawn by Johnny Vivash and Natalie Overs) only adds to the mayhem. While Edwin Wright is convincing as a character you really wouldn't want to meet anywhere on a dark night. Calham and Sadler spark off each other brilliantly and one of the most seat-gripping parts of The Fallow Field comes not in not the bloodbath, escapes or chases but a scene where the two central characters talk head to head, playing with your sympathy and fear. It's a brave move by writer Dovey, who also directed the film, but one that pays off. Dacre inhabits the part of Calham as though he's been toiling the soil and quietly wreaking havoc in his spare time all his life. But Garry, as the moral centre of the story, also makes the part of Sadler his own, in a performance that matches Dacre's in its conviction. We ought to be seeing a lot more of all the actors in this film. The final scene, with a revelation that turns the story on its head, has to go to Dacre, who held our audience spellbound, even evoking a little sympathy for his warped, bloodthirsty and vengeful character. Throughout the film Nick Kindon's stunning camera-work weaves scenes of bleak but breathtaking countryside in a very English landscape, while the interiors have a claustrophobic malevolence that take you back to the house on the hill in Psycho and the motel in Identity. Kindon's crafted scenes of isolation and horror linger in your head long after the titles have finished. The Fallow Field is a strangely moral tale, that will confirm every city dwellers worst fears about the country. Violent, but never pointlessly so, its themes of nature, isolation, retribution, redemption and regeneration are reminiscent of many of the best supernatural horrors. It combines the best elements of The Cottage (without Jennifer Ellison's comic turn) with the intrigue of Momento and the cyclical doom of the more recent Triangle. A story that tells you, like The Vanishing, that sometimes when you' are desperate to delve into the past and find answers, you are better off not knowing. The Fallow Field for was produced and edited for Figment Productions by Colin Arnold, I suspect on a tight budget, but you'd never know it. The make up, production design, effects, music and sound are superb, combining to create a fantastical world you fear, but feel compelled to enter.

The Fallow Field is a film that easily outclasses big budget rivals. Catch it if you can.

Fiona Webster, national newspaper and magazine writer, editor and broadcaster
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mr-defleur3 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers

The previous two reviews before mine are obviously connected to the film.

I won't review it. I will give you just one example. Which NO ONE can attack. I won't judge. I will just relate. You judge...

At the finale of the movie, the bad guy has a shot-gun at the hero. It's just the two of them in a field. Just them. In a field. Just them. Looks like the hero is going to die. But then -- the Bad Guy hears a noise. Four feet away from where he stands. This noise alarms him. So he DROPS his shot-gun in the field. Yes, that's right, he DROPS it. In slow-motion. To run four feet. He doesn't keep the shot-gun. No no no. He can't run with a shot-gun. He has to drop it. He DROPS it so he can run to the noise in the ground. Four feet away.

Surprisingly, the good guy picks up the gun, and kills the bad guy.

The rest of the film is built so well.
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Carefully crafted, superior British indie-horror.
dbaber-212 June 2012
Leigh Dovey's debut "The Fallow Field" is a reminder that British horror is very much alive and kicking. It is also a film that needs to be seen by many - but to review it in too much depth would give away the delicious plot twists. For a film shot on a tight budget the end result easily competes with films with far more to spend. It is also fresh to see a film where characters and dialogue are central to the filmmaker - I hope that the horror buffs of today, fattened on a diet of Saw and Hostel films can give this the time it so rightly deserves. The film deals with an unlikely pairing of Matt (Steve Garry), a man prone to blackouts and amnesia who finds himself dumped by both his partner and mistress because of his erratic behaviour, and Calham (Michael Dacre) - the menacing farmer with a brutal and possibly tragic history. Michael Dacre is compelling as Calham, oozing both evil and dark humour as the cat and mouse element of the film unfolds. Matt seeks answers for his blackouts, and through a strong sense of deja-vu ends up at Calham's farm. In a pivotal scene Dovey has the two central characters alone in a barn - here again it is left to the dialogue and the actors to carry the directors vision of evil forward. Indeed much of the film relies upon the strength of the two lead actors. The isolation - even in the sweeping landscapes of Surrey - of the farm and farmer stand-out, as do the themes of mother-nature and death. I should also mention how the camera-work, direction and particularly the music all combine to carry the audience along with a growing sense of unease and suspense. The soundtrack makes evocative use of ticking machinery and other natural things such as boiling water to match our own heartbeat. Let's hope that when this gets the release it has long deserved later in 2012 that others will find it. It's a grower....
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