A review by Robert Long II ©2010
Produced by Geno McGahee
Directed by Geno McGahee and Jeremy Weiskotten
Starring Anthony Brown, Cedric Howard, Geno McGahee, Steven Joseph Adams, Pawel Watracz, Amanda Nigro, Jeremy Weiskotten
Synopsis (from the IMDb) Officer Brown, a big city cop comes to Adams, Massachusetts to get away from all the crime, but stumbles across a deadly secret. Adams is the sort of town that you can visit but never leave. Officer Brown soon discovers the horrible truth that is THE RISE OF THE SCARECROWS.
This is the 2nd flick by Geno McGahee and his movie making posse. In some ways it is better than EVIL AWAKENING, and in others it’s less so. Folks, plain and simple this is a micro budget beer and pizza movie. You get your drinking buddies together and play this on a large screen and howl and have a good time. If you go into viewing that with that kind of attitude, you’ll have fun. If you don’t, then this is going to hurt…
Some of the problems come forth in the form of a character (Sleazy Mike) that is so obnoxious that you cannot believe they were written. This character wants to start a whorehouse in town, he beats his wife, and he looks at transsexual magazines with perverted giddiness and glee. He barely interacts with any of the other main characters in the movie, and the only reason this guy exists is to later on become scarecrow fodder. His death scene takes place in the woods and there is no sound whatsoever. I mean the audio is blank for several minutes on end!
Something I notice in a lot of beginning filmmakers is the perchance to use profanity – a lot of it. Such is the case in RISE OF THE SCARECROWS. The problem with constant trash talk is 1) it rarely makes the characters endearing to the audience 2) it does not advance the plot and 3) it becomes tiresome to listen to. I remember listening to the commentary of GUTTERBALLS and filmmaker Ryan Nicholson commenting on knowing people that constantly curse in real life. My question to that would be that while such people may exist, why would you WANT to know them? I certainly don’t want to listen to it for 90 minutes straight.
If you read other reviews of this movie, they will point out that the inconsistent acting, the lack of gore, the bad fight choreography, the amateur camera work, and the fact that you can see the camera crew reflected more than once in various objects. I’m not going to deny any of that; it’s there. My site is not here to tear down and ridicule movies like other sites. I am here to tell folks what is positive about the film being presented, as well as offering constructive criticism to the moviemakers. Well, I’ve pointed out where things could have been better. Now let’s move on to what is good about the movie.
Cedric Howard plays the corrupt, evil sheriff of the town of Adams, and he does a good job with the role. He comes off polite but it is shown very early on in the movie that he is up to no good. This is not a spoiler as he is seen offing an innocent victim from the very start of the film. Also actor Steven Joseph Adams is not nearly as grating on the nerves in this follow up movie. His character in EVIL AWAKENING made you want to back a cement truck over his body several times. In RISE OF THE SCARECROW he once again plays a jerk – but – his character is not without some redeeming values. This is a marked improvement in my book. And the one ultra bright spot in the casting is that of Amanda Nigro, who is strikingly beautiful and does an obligatory shower scene in the movie. While it adds nothing in general to the plot, the couple of minutes of screen time she is given is a welcome respite. Why the character of Dicky (Geno McGahee) would rather look through a Playboy than jump her bones (he plays her husband) is one of the mysteries of the movie.
And then there is the story itself, which has a very good idea behind it. The basic plot is a town harboring a dark secret waylays innocent tourists and hitch hikers into becoming sacrifices to the undead (that have been dressed up as scarecrows). It’s good cop versus bad cop, and it is about friends trying to take vengeance for the death of one of their numbers. This is not a bad premise and at times the craftsmanship does show through.
The bonus features on this include an entertaining commentary track as well as trailers for EVIL AWAKENING and RISE OF THE SCARECROWS. There is a big plus that these fledgling movies have allowed for; filmmaker Geno McGahee has been able to cut his teeth in the business, and to learn from his mistakes. These two early attempts have allowed him to move onto bigger and better produced movies. His next two movies – Scary Tales and Family Secrets – have been getting good publicity; especially Family Secrets, which has gotten coverage in Fangoria magazine. These are positive steps forward.
So, where can you get these films? Well, I believe you can rent them through Netflix. They are also available through Amazon.com and scaredstiffreviews.com. AND Mr. McGahee has made a couple of copies of his first two films available to me, so I will be doing a site giveaway with them this month. Can’t beat that!
4/10 rating – which is what I gave Evil Awakening. As a party beer and pizza movie with friends, it’ll be a good/bad time. It would have fared a little better had it not had some of the audio problems. It is my hopes that with SCARY TALES and FAMILY SECRETS that Geno McGahee and his cast and crew have moved on from being weekend warrior filmmakers and onto doing better quality micro-budget motion pictures.