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Dark Night of the Scarecrow 2
Written and directed by J.D. Feigelson, 2022's Dark Night Of The Scarecrow 2 opens with a scene where an older man goes into his barn where he gets frustrated that the boombox won't stop playing. He hears someone and initially assumes it's a farmhand he owes some money to, but when that guy doesn't answer, the farmer grabs a scythe only to get killed by someone off camera when he gets scared and drops that very same scythe. An glass eyeball rolls under the door of the barn.
From here, From there, the movie follows a woman named Chris Rhymer and her young son Jeremy who have had to move to the small town where the opening scene took place. It turns out her boss was a mobster and she testified against him, he wasn't too happy about that. Now she's in the Witness Protection problem and the town sheriff is the only one who knows her true story. Jeremy bonds with local school teacher Hilda Corvis (Carol Dines) and starts talking to an imaginary friend he names Bubba. As the story evolves, bad guys, of course, show up looking for Chris and the scarecrow we know is lurking about takes action, seeming to have formed a protective bond of sorts with Jeremy.
To the movie's credit, it does feature some decent cinematography. Josh McNally does a decent job of capturing interesting details throughout the movie, from the dried up leaves of the corn stalks in the field to a genuinely beautiful sun-lit sky. The colors look a bit flat and contrasty at times but the actual compositions are typically pretty strong here. The rest of the production values are just sort of there, never really impressing but not standing out as awful. The film's soundtrack is mediocre, never sounding particularly original or interesting but never standing out as terrible. The murder set pieces don't feature a lot of gore, but they do feature a bit of gore, fleeting as it might be. One bad CGI scene involving a burning stands out as rather cringe-worthy, but the makeup effects that show the after effects of that burning are pretty decent. The movie does have a cool looking scarecrow in it that helps give the scenes where the killer scarecrow is doing what killer scarecrows do a bit of welcome atmosphere. The costuming for this aspect of the movie looks pretty neat. There's also a couple of nods to the original Dark Night Of The Scarecrow, the made for TV movie from 1981 that inspired this sequel, which is a nice touch.
The acting, much like most of the production values, is just not that exciting. No one here is so bad as to be unintentionally comedic, but no one stands out as great either. To be fair, a lot of the dialogue is pretty predictable and cliché-ridden, which makes turning in a good performance more challenging than it would be if the cast were working off of a great script or playing characters that weren't ones we'd seen in countless other movies about small town drama and horror.
Ultimately this one just doesn't catch fire. There are moments where it feels like it might and moments that are interesting, but they are too few and far between to save a picture which winds up feeling completely mediocre.
VCI brings Dark Night Of The Scarecrow 2 to region free Blu-ray on a 25GB disc with the eighty-three minute feature using up just over 19.2GBS of space. The AVC encoded 1080p high definition picture is framed at 1.78.1. The image quality is fine for a low budget shot on digital video presentation. Contrast can be a bit hot in spots which causes whites to bloom but it looks like that was intentional on the part of the filmmakers rather than a problem with the transfer on the disc. Things look flat throughout, and detail will never blow you away, but this is more than watchable, if not all that exciting.
Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo tracks are provided in English with closed captioning provided in English only. Both tracks have some noticeable wind noise throughout, seemingly stemming from the original recording. Levels can spike a bit, sometimes the effects are a bit hot in the mix. Otherwise, it's fine. Not remarkable, but serviceable enough.
The only extra on the disc is a selection of trailers for a few VCI horror releases: Dark Night Of The Scarecrow 2, Dark Night Of The Scarecrow, Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things, 2 Little Monsters, The Feed and Night Of The Bloody Apes. Menus and chapter selection options are also provided.
Dark Night Of The Scarecrow 2 is mediocre in pretty much every way possible. It isn't terrible, horror fans will have seen much worse than this, but it isn't remarkable at all. It never builds tension, the effects work doesn't stand out and the production values are fine, if never exciting, much like the disc itself. Rent it if you're really, really curious, otherwise skip it.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.