I’m always up for a turn-of-the-millennium, post-Scream indie slasher from the early 00s, so when I watched Harvest of Fear thanks to a 2-on-1 Blu-ray I purchased for the other movie, I immediately ordered the sequel The Path of Evil (because why would they ever consider putting a movie and its sequel together on the same Blu-ray instead?).
HARVEST OF FEAR (2004)
Clearly an indie labor of slasher love, this one is a little heavy-handed on the red herring and the silly main character clashes, but it does the most crucial thing right—evenly spaced, well-executed kill scenes.
The premise is also classic slasher simplicity. 20 years ago there were a bunch of murders during Harvest Fest in a small town. Now it seems like the murders are starting up again.
The kills deliver blood, chases, tits, and atmosphere. The killer, wearing a mask and a hoodie, looks strikingly like one of the scary figures I crafted for the front lawn of my property for Halloween years ago that finally bit the dust just last season after weathering the weather for so long.
We even get a main group of friends. They talk about the original murders taking place in the eighties, reference hair bands, and have what appears to be a Halloween costume party even though the holiday is never mentioned.
There’s also soap opera drama between the main girl, the new guy in town, and the douche bag deputy she used to date.
It’s the climax and killer motivation that are a bit messy—sort of like the denouement of a Scream sequel.
THE PATH OF EVIL (2005)
For a sequel to a low budget indie slasher, this is a lofty undertaking, but even though it’s nearly two hours long, it scores some major points from me for delivering fantastic old school kills.
Director Brad Goodman gets much of his cast back to continue the story and actually expands on the back stories of the characters. For that reason, there is a lot of drama in between the great kill scenes, but honestly, I was never bored with it.
The only real problem is that at the end of the first film we find out who the killer is, and that character returns for the sequel, sooooo…despite the killer hiding behind a disguise that is notably going for a Michael Myers vibe instead of a ScareBearDan’s Halloween lawn décor vibe this time around, we know for the entire time who the killer is! No surprises here. Of course, there also aren’t any when the killer is Michael, or Jason, or Freddy, Chucky, or…well, you get the picture.
The love triangle from the first film is still in full effect, and a couple of new characters are introduced, but what shines here are the kill sequences. It’s a shame Brad Goodman never added another horror movie to his filmography, because he does everything right in terms of fear factor.
The death scenes are perfectly paced, suspenseful, scary, atmospheric, gory, violent, and even deliver some T & A, plus there are chase scenes. The film even sets us up for another sequel, but it never happened.