John McNaughton is the cult director behind such horror classics as Wild Things and Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, and his latest film The Harvest represents his first in over a decade.
Collider exclusively premiered the trailer today, and The Harvest stars Michael Shannon and Samantha Morton as a controlling and over-protective mother and father caring for their bed-ridden, wheelchair bound son (Charlie Tahan). The boy makes a friend in a young girl (Natasha Calis), who quickly realizes that the parents’ reluctance to let their son out of the house is masking their more sinister behavior for how they care for him. Here’s the synopsis via Collider:
In his first film in nearly 15 years, the director of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer harks back to the depravity that made his 1986 debut a horror milestone. But less based in reality, The Harvest is closer to a fairy tale from Grimm’s darkest corners. Maryann (Natasha Calis) moves in with her grandparents after she’s orphaned. Desperately lonely, the preteen sets out to befriend a neighboring deathly ill, bed-ridden boy (Charlie Tahan), despite the outright disapproval of his mother (Samantha Morton). Maryann’s persistence pays off, however, and during a series of secret visits she gradually uncovers some seriously sinister goings-on in the house… Morton as the boy’s overprotective surgeon mom is the stuff of great screen villainy—at once utterly monstrous and tragically desperate—so much so that she makes even frequent heavy Michael Shannon, as the more subdued dad, pale in comparison.
We first caught up with the film at Fantasia 2014, where Justine Smith wrote, “it is nonetheless a unique and compelling entry in the contemporary horror genre. The film does not rely on shocks or cheap scares but rather the impending dread of death – in particular as it relates to a child. The script carefully insinuates the normal fears of childhood rebellion with those of a greater threat of death, perfectly encapsulating that ‘end of the world’ dread of early adolescence. With an incredible cast, strong gothic motifs, and some credibly horrific twists, The Harvest is a must-see film for the horror crowd.”
While this trailer makes the film look mostly standard, Justine explains the film’s themes of illness, parenting, control, and American values make McNaughton’s story much deeper. And while she compares Morton’s performance to Piper Laurie in Carrie, I’d argue Morton has at the very least got Kathy Bates’s look down from Misery.
The Harvest hits theaters October 19 and also stars Peter Fonda. Watch the trailer below: