Friday, 16 January 2015


husk opens with a group of friends whose road trip is ruined when their car crashes next to a corn field with a spooky house in the middle of it (in the middle of the field, not the car). so far, so texas chainsaw massacre (i can't believe i just wrote that but i didn't delete it so i must be okay with it on some level). there are the usual archetypes - the chess team nerd (who actually uses chess to explain what's going on later in the story), the typical jock, his girlfriend, and a sketchy guy who is only sketchy so later on he can hotwire a car. and there's their other friend who runs off into the field immediately. based on that, it sounds like it should be awful, but it's not. it's actually kind of cool.

so what they soon realise is that if you're in the corn, something gets you. they end up stranded at the spooky house, surrounded by corn with no way to get back to the road. unless they can figure out what's going on.

what's going on is where the film get interesting, so if you're going to watch it you may not want to read this bit as it might get spoilerey. so the house was owned by a guy and his two kids. one of the kids went crazy and killed his brother. he hid the body by dressing him up as a scarecrow and stringing him up in the cornfield. the dead brother then came back from the dead and killed everyone. now what happens is that the dead brother kills whoever enters the field, possesses their bodies, makes the possessed body drive nails into their hands and sew their own scarecrow mask, then takes them into the field too. so the field is full of dead people dressed as scarecrows and this guy can possess any of them at any time. it's crazy and convoluted but it's actually kind of a cool idea.

part of the way we get to his idea is a bit dubious, with the nerdy guy randomly getting flashbacks to what happened in the house, but the other stuff is really interesting, particularly the dead bodies sewing their own masks. this happens three times and each time it's really creepy, especially when you don't know what's going on. of course, i've just told you what's going on so i've probably ruined it but i feel like you have to understand how messed up the idea is to get what makes this film work.

the other interesting thing is that the token girlfriend character is killed off in the first act. oh, spoiler, sorry. anyway, this means that the film follows the three guys. now as a feminist you'd think i'd be all like 'where are all the women?' but the thing is i know where all the women are, they're in all the other horror films. it's actually kind of refreshing to see a horror film that's just about these three guys. the filmmakers do still manage to adhere to the rules of the slasher film; they give all the characteristics of the final girl to the nerdy guy. so he's the one who's probably a virgin, he's kind of 'feminised', he's the only one with any sensible ideas but no one listens, he's the one who figures out what's going one and ultimately he's the only one left at the end, although i won't go into whether he survives or not.

the thing is, this is the second time i've seen this done recently, with see no evil 2 being the other example of a male character occupying the role of the 'final girl'. let's compare that to other recent slasher films, like you're next or no one lives. in those films the 'final girl' exhibits more behaviour typically associated with men than the men in the film do. i guess what i'm trying to say is the women in those films kick ass. i mean, the final girl has always kicked ass, that's what they do, but sharni vinson in you're next kicks ass from minute one.

so in the last five years there have been at least two films in which the 'final girl' is a man and two films in which the 'final girl' is more empowered and more physically capable. i don't know if this is representative of some kind of change or progress, or whether it's just a few isolated incidents that i'm trying to connect, but it has to be a good thing.

check out husk anyway, it's a neat 80 minute slasher film with some cool ideas.

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