The Honor Farm premiered at SXSW 2017 and with it came the hope that it was a late night horror flick which we here at HFF love. The premise? A group of teens blow off their senior prom and wander into the woods to spend the evening at a haunted old prison work farm. This film very clearly has the makings of a scary movie, right?! Even looking at this picture here, it screams "Scary things are coming!!" but sadly, one you were settled into your seat ready to end your SXSW evening with an indie horror gem, you very quickly started to realize this may not be what you signed up for.
The film is written and directed by Karen Skloss and stars Olivia Grace Applegate as Lucy, our leading actress. Right out of the gate this film starts to feel like some weird surreal tale, with us is one of Lucy's dreams or wait is it a premonition? Who knows, because as quickly as it happens we are being whisked away into prom fever and all that goes with it. Lucy and her friend Annie (Katie Folger) are gearing up for a night of fun, drinking, and for Lucy, finally losing her virginity to her super-jock boyfriend. When her Boyfriend gets wasted and passes out early in the night, the two girls leave the party and find themselves outside a corner store in the middle of the night when along comes a couple other classmates of theirs, who I should note are not in their circle of friends, but just like the look of them, and invite them to hang out with them and their random friends in the woods. Once again it feels like we are back on the horror movie track, right? From there Lucy meets the hot bad boy JD (Louis Hunter) and the rest of their new friends and proceed to do shrooms and then wander to the super haunted abandoned prison work farm. Here is where the story takes a turn for WTF.
When the gang arrives we are left with more questions than answers about what is happening and what is real, because of well shrooms. There is one sort of satanic scene that happens in the film when the crew stumbles upon a couple of random guys about to kill a goat and rape and murder women, but that is oddly handled after they bust in a disrupt the act. Like maybe there should have been a lot more ass kicking and drama than the bad guys just basically saying, "It's not what it looks like" and the kiddos and their victim running away. I have seen scary episodes from the Scooby-Doo gang. After that, we are all taken on trippy shroom journey and I am not sure what to do with the rest of this. I suppose if they didn;t vaguely lay this film out like it would be some sort of horror/scary film, but they totally do. Check out the tagline:
"After prom night falls apart, Lucy finds herself at a very different kind of party...On a psychedelic trip that could be a dangerous trap." It is labeled as a thriller according to IMDB but is totally lacking the thrillers. The campy acting would have been fine, in a campy horror film, but just fields off here. We scored The Honor Farm with an F. Just be up front with what kind of movie you are making. There is no need for pretending to be something you are not.