DARK HARVEST is a new horror movie that takes place on Halloween. We’re in the 1960s, in a rural area full of corn fields. Each year on Halloween, a dangerous hunt takes place. Get ready to meet “Sawtooth”. I didn’t expect much, but truly enjoyed this one. Read our Dark Harvest movie review here!
DARK HARVEST is a new horror movie from David Slade, which should be enough reason to watch it. However, it was actually shot several years ago and has been shelved on several occasions which always puts a damper on expectations. To be fair, this movie was first pushed due to the pandemic, which was a fate that many productions suffered from. Then a studio bankruptcy.
Also, due to the story taking place on Halloween, it would be a shame to release it at any other time. Finally, 2023 turned out to be the right Halloween for this movie to finally be released. With a Friday the 13th release date as well. What’s not to like?! And yes, you should definitely check it out. For me, this is a movie I could easily watch on Halloween every now and then.
Continue reading our Dark Harvest movie review below. Find it on Digital from Friday the 13th of October, 2023. It will also be screening one night only at select Alamo Drafthouse locations on October 11.
A sinister harvest ritual
The story of Dark Harvest plays out in a cursed town. This much is obvious from the opening scene that takes place on Halloween in 1962. A brutal battle for survival is taking place, but people aren’t fighting against one another; They are fighting to kill Sawtooth. It’s the only way to ensure the success of next year’s harvest.
Or so the legend goes.
On Halloween 1963, Sawtooth Jack will once again rise from the cornfields. That’s what he does every single year and every Halloween, he must be killed before the stroke of midnight. If not, something terrible will happen to ruin the harvest of the following year.
All the boys of the town are prepared for days up to Halloween – in a brutal way, I might add. Then on Halloween night, they are sent out to defeat the murderous scarecrow. The one who kills Sawtooth Jack will be awarded a car, a cash prize, and a brand-new house for his family.
On the good side of town, of course.
In 1963, the rebellious outcast, Richie, joins the run with the intention of winning. His brother won the previous year, so he isn’t actually allowed to participate. After all, his family doesn’t need yet another house. This is of no concern to Richie, but something else sure is. During the hunt, he makes a shocking discovery and has a difficult choice to make!
Meet Sawtooth Jack
Not only are the special and practical effects in Dark Harvest very efficient and gorgeous looking. The key character of “Sawtooth Jack” has a brilliant look that I immediately loved.
Basically, “Sawtooth Jack” looks like an unmasked Trick ‘r Treat “Sam” as an adult.
As I have a huge soft spot for Sam and watch Trick ‘r Treat on most Halloweens, it was an awesome surprise. The whole situation and lifespan of Sawtooth Jack does differ from Sam’s, but I still loved the resemblance visually.
I also really loved that Dark Harvest played out in the 1960s. There’s just something magical to these horror stories when they play out in rural towns and before the invention of the Internet and smartphones. Also, it makes for interesting characters and important reminders of just how different (and racist) the 1960s were.
The cast of this Halloween horror movie also worked wonderfully. We have Casey Likes (The Birch) in the lead as Richie with E’myri Crutchfield (Tell Me Your Secrets) in a key role as the town newcomer, Kelly. She’s black which is enough to make sure that everyone already knows who she is.
Also in the cast are Ezra Buzzington (Brooklyn 45), Elizabeth Reaser (The Haunting of Hill House), and Jeremy Davies (The Black Phone). Finally, we get Dustin Ceithamer as Sawtooth Jack (also called “October Boy” on IMDb, apparently). He’s mostly a body actor so you often never see his actual face. This was also the case in The New Mutants where he was “Smiling Man”.
Watch Dark Harvest on Digital
Dark Harvest was directed by acclaimed director David Slade. Even if the name David Slade doesn’t ring a bell, some of his previous movies definitely should. He directed the 2005 movie Hard Candy, as well as the very first 30 Days of Night in 2007. Also, he directed an episode of Black Mirror (“Metalhead” from season 4), plus the Black Mirror movie Bandersnatch and a segment of Nightmare Cinema (2018).
Oh yes, you would do well to always check out movies directed by David Slade. For Dark Harvest, we’re getting an adaptation of Norman Partridge’s award-winning novel. Michael Gilio is the screenwriter, and he also co-adapted and co-wrote the screenplay for the 2023 Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. A movie that was so much better than most anticipated.
The same goes for this one, so please don’t miss out on it. Apart from its Friday the 13th release On Digital, it plays for One Night Only at Alamo Drafthouse theaters on October 11, 2023. No matter how you can watch it, make sure that you check this one out for Halloween. Both in 2023 and for years to come, this could end up being a new classic.
Dark Harvest is out On Digital from October 13, 2023.
In Theaters: October 11, 2023 (One Night Only)
On VOD: October 13, 2023
Genre: Horror, Fantasy
Director: David Slade
Screenplay: Michael Gilio
Cast: Casey Likes, E’myri Crutchfield, Dustin Ceithamer, Elizabeth Reaser, Jeremy Davies
In a cursed town, the annual harvest becomes a brutal battle for survival. On Halloween 1963, Sawtooth Jack, a terrifying legend, rises from the cornfields, threatening the town’s children. Groups of boys unite to defeat the murderous scarecrow before midnight. Richie, a rebellious outcast, joins the run, motivated by his brother’s previous victory. As the hunt progresses, Richie makes a shocking discovery and faces a pivotal choice to break the relentless cycle.