Despite its creepy, demonic-faced cover art, Devil's Harvest does not have the budget to include such visual makeup effects in the film itself. This plot-driven movie does, however, offer a few scares.
Daniel, a young artist, is invited by his childhood friend Natasha to stay at her house in the coastal village where they grew up. Lore has it that a water demon dwells in the ocean, reaping the souls of the guilty. Before long, Daniel is haunted by nightmares from his childhood. He is suppressing a secret that involves, him, Natasha, and a local ex-priest—a secret that has stirred the wrath of a vengeful supernatural force.
This rather melodramatic film does a good job of setting up the legend of a water demon. There are a few well-crafted scares that rely on atmosphere and not special effects. The Omen-like, chanting/orchestral score is quite effective in meeting this end. However, without any true visual frights, the movie is heavily character and plot driven, so it does lose some momentum. In an attempt to fix this problem, there is a bit of a body count—irrelevant characters thrown in just so they can be killed, in what amounts to Jaws camerawork. There is even an in-joke about it, if you watch closely. There are signs of Argento influence, particularly the red/green/blue lighting effects. The only thing that is unclear is whether or not the acting is intentional or just amateur. As I said above, the film is somewhat overdramatic, and the acting reflects that. It feels almost tongue-in-cheek at times. Even so, the creators definitely know the elements that make a horror movie, and did a pretty good job of putting together their story without much of a budget. It would be interesting to see what they could have done with more funding. Actually, take a look at Stuart Gordon's film Dagon, which deals with the same legend, and you might know. While that film is much more of a traditionally creepy "horror" movie, I do think this film gets the award for the better ending.
1:85:1, letterbox. The image is incredibly soft and pixelated, with oversaturated colors. Haloing is quite noticeable at times. There are specs and dirt on the print throughout.
2.0 stereo surround. The left/right separation creates some depth to the experience, but the sound is muffled overall, with periodic dropout. The bass is deep and muffled, and the dialogue syncing appears to be slightly off.
No extras, just 16 chapter breaks from which to choose.
Devil's Harvest is a film focusing on aquatic demon lore. Without relying on special effects, it does offer a few chilling moments, but is mainly focused on exposition rather than a great deal of horror action. If you're looking for a truly scary movie, you may be disappointed, but if you appreciate an interesting demon legend weaved into a story, you might want to give this one a try.