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DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW 2 (aka STRAWEYES, 2022)
Directed and written by J.D. Feigelson.
Starring Amber Wedding, Barry G. Bernson, Carol Dines, Tim Gooch, Richard Seng, Aiden Shurr, Adam Snyder, Mike VanZant
Forty years after the events of the original DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW, a single mom and her son shows up in a small country town which coincides with a series of deaths. Seems the boy has formed some kind of connection with the long dead Bubba, which means a bale of vengeance is coming to anyone who threatens his family.
DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW is arguably one of the best TV horror movies of all time. It was a moody campfire tale about an innocent man who hides in a scarecrow from an angry mob and is gunned down only to return to enact vengeance on them. It was cause and effect with a creepy scarecrow. It was filled with ambiance and dark mood, not heavy on blood, but man, was it effective and scary.
I understand someone might want to come along and remake it. That seems to be the flavor of the day in horror. But a sequel set 40 years later seems absolutely unnecessary and kind of crazy. Sure, I appreciate that the writer of the original is back to write and direct. I do appreciate the effort to make the story connect with the original, but the connections are threadbare. One of the characters is vaguely related to Bubba and this is supposed to take place in the town the original was set, but other than that, this really could just be the million and one-th scarecrow flick that is ripping off the original DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW.
The biggest issue with the sequel is that it feels more like a fan film than an actual production. The lighting is really bad. Most everything is shot during the daytime, which immediately takes away a lot of the dark atmosphere from a film titled DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW. The acting is pretty amateur. The actors this film found aren’t terrible but lack the pizzazz of those with experience and training. And a lot of the writing seems like an afterthought, as if a scarecrow movie was being made and halfway through they found out they could use the rights to DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW for a sequel.
Most likely, due to the new trademark and copywrite laws, the rights to DARK NIGHT fell back into the hands of the writer, so he decided to make a sequel now and do the whole thing himself. If anything, this strikes a bit of fear into my heart as if this is any indication of what happens when rights are reverted, I’m terrified to see what Victor Miller would try to do with the FRIDAY THE 13TH rights.
But DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW 2 isn’t completely bad. I like the look of the scarecrow. It’s similar to the original, but slightly more angular. I could have done without the CG used to subtly move the fabric about the eyes and mouth, but the slight eye glow is cool. I also think that this film does a surprisingly good job of building tension. There are numerous nicely paced scenes as the scarecrow creeps up on its next victim. There really is a nice sense of suspense and a true patience in filmmaking going on here despite its flaws.
There is a DIY charm to DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW 2. It lacks the production and professionalism. It lacks that magic, campfire tale quality that permeated the original. But it’s a decent low budget time-waster that feels rushed, but serves as no-brainer entertainment. Ultimately, I think this is an uncalled for sequel that could have been produced by more talented people given the reverence for the original.