Not for the first time, amnesiac Matt Sadler (Steve Garry) awakes alone in the middle of a wilderness with no recollection of the past seven days. Finding his way home he discovers a life rapidly falling apart: his wife is convinced he's hiding an affair, the police are suspicious of his repeated disappearances and now he is plagued by terrifying nightmares when he closes his eyes. Genuinely dark and quintessentially English, 'The Fallow Field' is a throwback to brutal horrors and thrillers made in the 70s. Capturing some of the genre's bleak tones and threat, its twisting plot, slowly building sense of dread as well as sudden shocks and visceral scenes make 'The Fallow Field' a genuinely terrifying film.
Spoilers follow ...
- The Fallow Field review by NP
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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 minimalistic 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.