‘He wants you out!’
Field Freak – also known as The Monster Outside – is a 2014 American horror film written and directed by Stephen Folker (The Orange Man).
The movie stars Dave Juehring, Trena Penson, Glenn Harston, Thomas Ely Sage, Tristan Coppola, Jim Nieciecki, Robert Kemp, Linden Clayborne, Amelia Atkinson.
A family move into an abandoned cabin in Beaver Pelt Falls, Idaho. Charles (Dave Juehring) a former best selling writer, is desperately trying to pen his next book and needs a place free of distractions. Little does he know, his entire family is being watched. Strange bumps in the night escalate into a nerve wrecking encounter with the creature by Charles’s wife Linda (Trena Penson).
Things take a strange turn when they hire a psychotic, pest control guy (Thomas Ely Sage) and are led to believe rabid beavers are to blame. It’s not until they visit a road side root beer distillery and meet a man named Ned Perkins (Glenn Harston), that they learn what the bumps in the night really are. According to Ned, they’re all going to die…
Is it possible to successfully mix the aesthetics of the comedy, horror, and thriller genres? Stephen Folker, the seething mastermind who both wrote and directed Field Freak, thinks so. This genre mash-up stars Dave Juehring as lapsed writer Charles Bear, Trena Penson as his frazzled wife Linda, Tristan Coppola (close relation to you-know-who is highly doubtful) as their needy son Lonnie, Thomas Ely Sage as Jerry Johnson, a manic master of pest control, and Glenn Harston as Ned Perkins, a disabled, crutch-wielding backwoods root beer moonshiner with a hair-trigger wig-flip that could give even the most bull-necked wrestler irreparable whiplash. Ric James (no, not that one, unfortunately) plays the off-the-rack gorilla-suited creature of the title.
Charles has been lying to his literary agent (and his family) about having his next book ready to go, and instead of actually buckling down and churning out the hack work required of a bestselling author, he does what any writer who lacks self-respect would do: he drags his family to an idyllic place called Beaver Pelt Falls, Idaho and promptly becomes obsessed with anything other than writing. In particular, he rather quickly takes a strong liking to the Perkins Family line of wash tub root beer, scooped out of the detritus-filled tub directly into a scum-filled jar, right before the Bear Family’s amazed eyes; while the son and wife are clearly disenchanted with the offering, dad is childishly delighted by the brew. In the meantime, Linda has begun to take notice of weird creature happenings about the house and has taken it upon herself to call in Jerry Johnson, a fanatical, beaver-obsessed pest control guy who’s determined to clear away the vermin.
Stephen Folker, who not only came up with this unique (ahem) idea, then wrote it into existence and proceeded to direct it, also took it upon himself to do the cinematography, the production design, and the costume design, as well. That would be great, miraculous in fact, if he were any good at any of the areas listed. Unfortunately, he’s not. The only original set design piece seems to be the Perkins root beer signs, and those could have easily been scrawled by a drunken orangutan; giving Folker the benefit of the doubt, the viewer could say it’s supposed to be funny. But it isn’t; it’s just stupid.
As for Folker’s writing – he can’t. The script is horribly disjointed and lacking any kind of narrative spine; his humour is distinctly idiosyncratic. The humour is so unappetising, it has the overwhelming feel of having been percolated within the confines of a twelve year old boy’s boorish mind, and then enhanced by the just-the-other-side-of-snarky preteen pandering found on the Nickelodeon Channel. His complete lack of skill as a director obviously doesn’t help; it only points up the inadequacies of a lousy script and the extraordinarily bad acting. Surprisingly enough, the Coppola kid may be the best actor in the bunch.
What more can be said about this $9,000 fiasco? Not much, other than it’s another piece of junk made by adult human beings who should have developed some form of discernment by now. What the micro-budget horror community needs is commentators and fans to shout it: Simply because you have a passion for something doesn’t always mean you should actually pursue that something as a career; just because you have a camera, and a few willing accomplices/victims who are as lacking in talent as you are, doesn’t mean you should make a movie. Make your grotty movie, if you must, but don’t foist it upon the rest of us.
Ben Spurling, HORRORPEDIA
“If you have a monster, you can surely think up a better name for it than field freak. Aside from that, the look of the creature is pretty bad. It looks like a guy dressed in a lower end Halloween costume of some sort of ape. Unrealistic fur, horrible mask, weird looking chest…” Jesse, Horror News
Ned Perkins: “People came from 500 miles away to try his root beer. But there was somethin’ watchin’ us in dem woods dat day. Yes, there was. Just prowlin’ and growlin’.”
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