Indie Halloween flick ‘C.O.R.N.: A Field of Screams’ features high quality thrills, effects

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Photo Courtesy of IMDb

Mateus Ward stars in the indie horror film “C.O.R.N.: A Field of Screams. The movie is a great Halloween watch to celebrate spooky season.

By Aidan Finn, Staff Writer

It’s spooky season: The time of year where the box office is flooded with Blumhouse schlock and supernatural horror arbitrarily lobbed into “The Conjuring” universe (because heaven forbid originality!). 

The modern horror scene can be mildly depressing in its lack of bold titles and thrillers that push for something unique rather than hightailing it off of cable ads reiterating the same promo of “from the producers of ‘The Purge’ and ‘Paranormal Activity’for the casual audiences. 

The independent, smaller-scale horror scene has had a myriad of great titles in recent years, with many experimenting in bold storylines of unnerving, human-centric terrors like Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” to projects by passionate filmmakers aiming for conventional but effective horror, the latter of which seems to be the case with “C.O.R.N: A Field of Screams,” an indie horror delight derived straight from the cornfields of Champaign, Illinois. While small in production scale compared to its Hollywood competitors, “C.O.R.N.” is an enjoyable romp with creative twists and disturbing thrills that make for a great addition to your existing Halloween movie binge. 

This film, produced by Dreamscape Cinema, follows the setup of a group of teens fleeing from a gruesome Midwestern cult. After the cold open depicts unsuspecting teens being “taxidermied” alive during a corn maze party (a charming tone setter), the story truly begins with a dysfunctional family’s car breaking down in the middle of nowhere. Don, the dad of the family played by Roger Cross of “24,” searches for help while the two kids, Tia and Cary, stay put. That’s where the dad character drops for almost the entire movie — which only adds to the film’s unique flavor of “stranded teens bouncing around in the cornfields of a Midwestern wasteland.” The main plot mover is young Tia (played by Kennedy Tucker) wanting to party before brother Cary (played by Mateus Ward) heads off to college, having fun before life makes them have to grow up. Hopping around with other cornfield partiers, “C.O.R.N.” sets the stage with a chill vibe and a straightforward, yet engaging, plot. The film goes against the sensory-overload that most horror flicks nowadays extensively indulge in. 

It’s not all booze and raves though, as an encounter with a shady teen (rocking that 2005 emo style) sets in motion the lead group of teens caught in the crosshairs of a mysterious cult. Known as the Collective Order of Recreational Necrophilanthropists, the cult convenes during the Halloween season to perform human taxidermy on their kidnapped victims. Led by the charismatic, yet sinister, Robert Donavan, the underground society is presented as intimidating in moustache-twisting villainy, erecting their victims in living-tissue scarecrows (which were already creepy enough without the human remains element). To make matters worse, the cult had infiltrated the local police force, so their gruesome crimes go unpunished. 

The thrills and chills in this movie are well executed with quality special effects. With convincing gore and tight performances by the supporting cast, the film makes no waste with its characters, and the cast has great chemistry. This slice of indie horror is quite reminiscent of the criminally underrated “Haunting Hour,” a television show from 2010, both having great strength in horrifying concepts and ideas that disturb your imagination, as well as having a very Midwestern feel to it (even if indirectly). “C.O.R.N.” sports a chilling plot and is chock full of unnerving moments to make your Halloween night a scream. 

If you are in need of some entertaining horror content created right here in Champaign, you can’t go wrong with “C.O.R.N.” 

“C.O.R.N: A Field of Screams” is available on Amazon Prime. 

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