SciFridays: “Rites of Spring” (2011)

Rites of Spring poster

Ghostrider Entertainment

Baddie – Wes Craven (Yeah. Wes Craven)

Lesson – The current economic climate has made farmers a little desperate.

As you may remember from last week, I now have a Twitter. Follow me there for interesting mid-week horror/sci-fi tidbits and stuff.  

I’m…well I’m not really sure what I just watched. This is one of those times where the Netflix description doesn’t really do the movie justice, because I thought I was getting into a kidnapping movie with a side of monster, or maybe a ghost or two. That is not what I got. Really what this movie is ‘convoluted subplots coupled with a vague looming threat’.

As is often my complaint with these films, the writing seems a bit lazy. It appears that the writer, Padraig Reynolds (also the director) hasn’t quite debuted into Hollywood yet with only a few things here and there, and it shows. Everything that happens in this movie is hyper-scripted and still somehow poorly thought out. The best example of this is the ‘kidnapping’ of the little girl where a few things happen. Firstly, the babysitter is so obviously in cahoots with the kidnappers it’s stupid to try and hide it. Secondly, what girl leaves her backpack upstairs while doing homework (so she has to retrieve it). Thirdly, what girl leaves said backpack under her bed supposedly having just returned from school? Fourthly, fifthly, whatever – she goes into her room, purposely closes the door and looks for her backpack like it’s a mischievous pet. Surprise, it’s in the closet. Surprise, there’s a kidnapper. Then the kidnapper kills the mom. To show that he’s ‘serious’. Why does this happen? I’m pretty sure it was so that they could kill the dad later without too many plot holes (spoiler, we never find out where the girl ends up). Now imagine the whole movie is like this.

I would like to die right over....there. Yup. There.

Ghostrider Entertainment
I would like to die right over….there. Yup. There.

The namedrop happens at 32:55. Just saved you all loads of time. This is more important than other namedrops, because this movie doesn’t care to let you know why everything is happening other than it is ‘the rites of spring’. Super helpful, thanks. The plot as I understand it is thus:

Worm/Monster/Slasher Villain (WMSV) lives under a barn, and has done so for years. Every year on March 21st, the first day of spring, undisclosed amounts of virgins(?) are sacrificed to WMSV and the town is rewarded with early crops.


Ghostrider Entertainment

Problems with this:

– WMSV has no apparent reason to help with crops, aside from the briefest of allusions that he is somehow symbiotic with the worms?

– WMSV only devours the ‘clean’ which usually means virgins, but that isn’t clarified at all.

– EARLY crops!? Not good ones, not ‘no drought’, but EARLY. Is that really worth it? I should mention that this is a typical farming town, po-duck nowhere. It sure doesn’t look like they’re benefitting from this ‘early crop’ business.


Ghostrider Entertainment

– Prosthetics work in this movie is kindaaaaa lazy too. It’s basically that half-mask up there, which is just…underdeveloped, character wise. I guess he’s kind of like a scarecrow?

The movie that could have been, a startling mystery about the women who go missing and a farmer who enjoys unusually good harvests because he’s been sacrificing women to a demon who trades off human blood for fertile land.

Another movie that could have been, a Stepford-esque farming town that enjoys fantastic harvests despite a poor climate, where everyone quietly acknowledges the yearly sacrifice of their town’s daughters until someone decides it isn’t worth it.

I went to IMDB for this one because I like to get my facts straight, and came across some delightful things other people noticed. While I’m bothered by things like a teddy bear on the bed of the ‘killer’ (the old man kidnapping women for the WMSV), someone else is bothered that corn wouldn’t be that height during March.

There’s a stinger, but it’s just as useless as the movie, so, if you feel like fighting Netflix to watch the last :30 seconds, go for it. Overall kind of an underwhelming film with underwhelming performances all around. The ending is awful, and by this I mean that there isn’t one.

Feel free to tweet me any questions, recommendations, comments, compliments, whatever! Really, I just like the attention. 

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