• Rows



    Released by: MVD Visual
    Released on: March 22, 2016
    Director: David W. Warfield
    Cast: Hannah Schick, Lauren Lakis, Kenneth Hughes, Nancy Murray
    Year: 2015
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    The Movie:

    Rose (Hannah Schick) is startled to find herself bound to a bed in an empty silo. She is able to move her head and finds a morose, beaten man, head down in shame, and an older woman. The woman approaches Rose and begins making marks on her body. We then cut to Rose sitting on her bed talking to her father Mark (Kenneth Hughes), a land developer. He orders Rose to evict Haviland (Nancy Murray) from her farmhouse so he can begin to develop McMansions on the property. We soon learn Haviland is the woman whom has imprisoned Rose in the silo and she may have supernatural abilities. How did Rose get there and will she be able to escape?

    Rows is yet another in an endless stream of direct to DVD horror films, many, like this, released by MVD Visual. However, it should be noted the film is slightly superior to the vast majority of its cinematic cousins. The most striking element of Rows, especially when held to other modern no-budget films of its ilk, is the sleek, glossy look of the film. Rows is occasionally quite pretty with some strong cinematography. This gave the film a sense of professionalism other films released by MVD Visual lack. The film’s look was not the only competent element of the film. The acting by the small cast, particularly Schick, was pretty good. Character wise, none of the actors were given much to work with, but they all delivered capable performances that kept the film afloat and held viewer interest.

    The strong acting and look of Rows helped writer-director David W. Warfield’s somewhat ambitious vision. Warfield’s film was told in a non-linear fashion which kept the audience on their toes. The film was rather successful in keeping me guessing at what was reality and what was not through a series of repeated, slightly altered, scenes. A conversation between Rose and her friend Greta (Lauren Lakis) on a swing set happened numerous times with somewhat different lines and body language. Rose seemed to be aware of the variations, sometimes deliberating creating her own changes, giving Rows the feeling of a horror themed Groundhog Day. This was a somewhat interesting ploy and may have played in the film’s favor. Because so many scenes were repeated, the actors and crew were able to focus on the performances and look of only a handful of scenes.

    I am not sure the narrative trickery and ambiguity added up to much more than a neat experiment thematically. The film really did not have much to say. While the opening credits made use of juxtaposition between the corn rows and rows of high priced, low quality McMansions which have sprung up like wildflowers over the last two decades, Rows did not make any remark about altering landscapes nor how the poor craftsmanship of modern housing in relation to the durability of older homes can relate to our current disposable culture. Furthermore, Rows left a lot of things unanswered, like how much of the film actually happened and how much was a dream. While this is not too much of an issue, I feel it lessened the impact of the film’s climax. Also, the film’s big reveal just seemed to be an homage to the Fourth of July Ball photograph from the climax of The Shining. Despite these misgivings Rows, with its 82 minute running time, is a quick, easy watch. It looks good and holds the viewer’s attention.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The guys at MVD Visual have released Rows on DVD sporting 2.35:1 image. As with pretty much all of MVD Visual’s releases, Rows looks fine. The image will never blow anyone away but it gets the job done. If anything, I would say Rows is one of their better looking releases.

    The audio is 2.0 stereo and it is mixed well. The dialogue, music and sound effects are well separated. Dialogue is audible making the lack of subtitles a nonissue.

    The DVD release of Rows does not have any extra features. Not even a trailer.

    The Final World:

    Rows is no masterpiece but it is not too bad for a recent low budget horror film. It is well made and short enough to keep the viewer’s attention but I would not recommend someone going out of their way to see the film. The film’s biggest issue is its ambition. It tries to tell a complex, ambiguous story but the script just is not good enough.





















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