Honor Farm Movie Review
Honor Farm Movie Review Metadata
If there is one thing SXSW is good for, it’s highlighting the best of what the Austin Movie Scene has to offer. The Honor Farm, is the epitome of Austin quirkiness as it claims to be one thing, but in actuality is another.
It’s Prom Night – that magical Rite of Passage still afforded to nearly everyone. Lucy (Olivia Grace Applegate) and her best friend, Annie (Katie Folger) have an abrupt change in plans when their planned special night goes awry. They hook up with the weirdest people (they know) and a super cute drug dealer (Louis Hunter) for a mystical magical journey with ‘shrooms. The romantically tripping band are led to an abandoned prison frequented by the tamest Satanists ever, and Lucy and Annie pretty much learn nothing about consequences or random hookups or trusting complete strangers with drugs.
The Scooby Gang meets The Church of Satan, NOW WITH 100% MOAR CUTE BABY GOATS.
Despite the genre description, this movie is not a Thriller. At best, it’s a surrealist teen quest about meeting stoners and acid heads and having only the very best trip on mushrooms. Super cute drug dealers are super safe, right? You bet! We also learn Goth girls are clingy and emotional and know spells and stuff, and suburban perfect teens have adventures.
There was plenty of missed potential here. Lucy has visions of white rooms and white robes, and crossing that threshold into womanhood beneath a boy whose face she cannot see. Her dreams and drug trips are stalked by a figure wearing a deer skull. Her visions of stripping naked and slipping beneath the waves of a candle lit pond clearly must signal her unconscious mind struggling with an emotional burden of what’s next. Is Lucy a Witch? Will she become physically and metaphysically? Is the figure in the deer skull her future self?
Those are the questions you’d better not ask because they aren’t going to get answered.
You can’t throw naïve teens into an abandoned prison and *not* have something happen, and yet, we still managed to get The Honor Farm. It is 74 minutes of interchangeable teens in an interchangeable situation getting lost and finding themselves – without the need for anything heavy like a crisis.
If director Karen Skloss excels at anything it’s the subtle yet trippy post-production locations. Setting it the min-to late 80s without coming out and saying it was a nice touch, disallowing modern technology without beating the audience over the head with its abscence. With screenwriting partner, Jay Tonne, Jr, we’re treated to smart and funny dialogue, but without an actual story (or understanding of genre) we only have a pretty setting with voice-overs by kids who sound smarter than they are. It’s as if The Honor Farm liked the idea of dressing up like a philosophical thriller for prom, but instead wore a bright pink dress and stashed a black lipstick in the bottom of her clutch.
This movie is unrated as it’s only just debuted at SXSW, but has language, some super mild sexuality, exactly one scene with blood (which does not a horror or thriller make), and completely unrealistic drug use and consequences.