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The Farm (2018)

'The Farm' is another one of those films that has garnered a reputation for itself and gained somewhat of a cult status amongst horror fans. Showing up on multiple top 10 shocking horror films that I've seen circling the Internet, I knew it would only be a matter of time before I experienced this for myself. The problem is however, although curious, I always found some reason or another to watch something else instead of this. The question is, was that the right decision? This film certainly provides a unique perspective into how life for humans could be if we were no longer top of the food chain and mere cattle in a hierarchical society. The concept and writing is certainly the strongest element and provokes a lot of questions and wonderment. Director and writer Hans Stjernswärd takes an often overlooked world issue and highlights it in a way most people would not be able to tolerate as an audience. Relying on our own guilt and naivety to draw attention to something people would likely never even consider, this is a very clever use of story telling and one that makes this premise stand out amongst most other cannibal horror movies. Unfortunately however, the importance of Stjernswärd message gets lost somewhere amongst his poor production quality. The camera work and cinematography I found to be rather unbalanced and consistently unfocused. I have to assume this was the intent of the director to cause discomfort to the viewer. And, although some people may consider this a stylistic choice, I personally find it uncomfortable and distracting. The acting is one of the biggest disappointments here. The lead Nora, played by Nora Yessayan, struggles to convey any convincing emotions and even given the situation she finds herself in, I struggled to have any empathy for her character. With the majority of the remaining cast feeling rather inauthentic and playing up to the troupes of their respected characters, causing the overall essence of the story to lose its impact. Thankfully 80% of the cast are emotionless due to them wearing animal masks throughout the course of the films run time and given everyone elses performance, I don't hold out much hope for those who are not shown on screen providing much better results. The underlining message here regarding animal cruelty is perfectly clear and although using human life to symbolise the barbaric nature of battery farming and the impacts of agricultural life, it certainly doesn't make this any easier to watch. Witnessing the shear brutality and blatant disregard for life (whether that be metaphorical or not) is truly heinous to sit through. Considering some of the content we as horror fans usually endure, for some reason this just hits differently. Seeing these shocking conditions occur, and knowing its representation in day-to-day life feels enough to turn anyone vegan. I think a lot of this films notoriety comes for its shock factor. Yet, as a whole this film fails at a lot of its important elements. Whilst highlighting some major issues and flaws in our lack of empathy (or more so the state of blissful ignorance so many of us choose to live in) regarding the lasting impacts of battery farming - that message soon becomes lost in the quality of overall film making. 'The Farm' is something that will likely stay with me for sometime to come, but this is due to its concept and the message it is trying to deliver rather than the overall execution.



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