Directed by Ami Canaan Mann
Starring Sam Worthington, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chloe Grace Moretz
How did Texas Killing Fields not get a bigger push into theaters? The film features a cast of solid actors including Sam Worthington, who appears to be in everything these days, and wunderkind Chloe Grace Moretz, who also appears to be in everything. The story is also intriguing. When the film was being made it appeared that it might get a bigger theatrical push, and then it disappeared. Now we finally have the film on blu-ray.
In Texas Killing Fields Sam Worthington and Jeffrey Dean Morgan play police detectives obsessed with solving the killings of the killing fields, an area between Texas and Mexico where the bodies of young girls are constantly found. This one element of the film is based on reality; a real area in Texas full of unsolved murders of young women. As these two detectives follow up on a couple of cases unrelated to each other a second story follows a young girl played by Moretz as she stumbles through the small town trying to find ways to occupy herself while her mom services random men for money in their house. The stories collide when Moretz gets in trouble and it becomes apparent that the detectives know her and they constantly try to watch out for her.
The character development gets a lot of attention in this film with each of the two detectives getting backstory that defines their decision making when it comes to the killing fields murders. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is the cop from out of town with a chip on his shoulder and past experience haunting him, forcing him to follow these killing fields’ murders to the end. Sam Worthington is the local cop who has seen people and relationships destroyed due to these murders and the police department’s inability to solve the crimes. Chloe Grace Moretz’s character is a truly hopeless and sad character and she magically wears it on her face all the way through the film. The film is quiet, and often purposefully slow, feeling like an indie film with long moments of no dialogue with the story being told in music and facial expression only.
The character development isn’t the problem with this film, it’s the connect the dots mystery that lacks attention. The whole “whodunit” element of the film is painfully obvious and predictable literally from act one all the way to the closing credits. Sadly there’s just nothing exciting or truly mysterious about this part of the story. The failing of this part of the story is epically sad because the film does a phenomenal job of getting us invested in the characters and making us care about them all. The direction and editing is good but the script just needed one more pass to make it great.
This 1080p presentation is aggressively color shifted and it comes through nicely on the blu-ray. Nighttime scenes lose a bit of detail but black levels are still good. The color shifting is a bit annoying too. There doesn’t seem to be a reason for it other than possibly covering for budgetary shortfalls.
Audio is solid in this surround sound mix with dialogue coming through loud and clear. This is a fairly subdued film so there aren’t many opportunities for extreme dynamic shifting or immersion. With that said, the film sounds fine.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The single disc is packaged in a standard slim blue case and the artwork is a basic floating head situation. The shots are taken right from the film.
All we get for bonus features is a commentary. The commentary is fine and does offer some added value but there needs to be much more here. What about an examination of the real killing fields? Actor interviews maybe??
Texas Killing Fields is good for a rent, that’s about it sadly.
Overall (Not an average) 5/10
The Movie 6/10
The Video 7.5/10
The Audio 7/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 2/10
Overall (Not an Average) 5/10