Mr and Mrs Weaver are the perfect young couple. With Emily revelling in the glow of her pregnancy, and Nate’s art career moving forward, they are the epitome of happiness. This is shattered however when during a dinner party, Emily tragically miscarries. The pool of blood on the bathroom floor reflects the cruelty of nature, especially as the internal scarring means Emily can never conceive again. The trauma coincides with Nate’s relatives leaving an uninhibited house in their will to him. The inherited Weaver house in the country is the place for distraught pair to start over.

Nate is positively enthused about the property and Emily, although slightly reserved, makes a go of it. She even starts to reignite her faltering dress making career. But just as their new beginning starts to heal their wounds, things start to turn sour. Emily’s attempts to renovate the house as well as her life are hampered by some strange apparitions and a sinister discovery.

Concerns about her sanity are dismissed by an increasingly distant Nate, who seems more interested in his work and female agent Risa, then his distressed wife. Feeling isolated and depressed, Emily starts to investigate the ominous history of the Weaver family home. As the truly petrifying revelations start to unfold thick and fast, Emily’s life gradually get ripped to pieces….

Director Adam Gierasch, of Autopsy and Night of the Demons infamy, has put together a well constructed, macabre tale in Fertile Ground. While the movie could be perceived as slow paced to begin with, it does allow for some dark and gloomy drama to be spiked with flashes of terror as it creeps toward its high octane climax.

I liked, in particular, the way it combined psychological with supernatural horror. I adore movies in the mould of Polanski’s REPULSION, which expose the fragility of an isolated human psyche. Helped no end by multitalented Leisha Hailey’s excellent performance as Emily, the movie conveys a real sense of desolation as it unfurls. Her anguish, compounded by the sinister forces, really helps maintain a sombre atmosphere through the entire piece that carries through to the very last frame. Anyone impressed by Hailey might be interested to know her band, Uh Huh Her, have just released a new album, Nocturnes in 2011. If Indie / electro pop rocks your boat, check ‘em out!

It is also worth noting how 16:9 widescreen presentation showcases Yaron Levy’s superb work as director of photography. The cinematography strikes a nice balance between the picturesque open spaces of the house’s location with the dense, solitary confinement within its walls.

Unfortunately, the disc loses points for the lack of extras. There are some quality titles coming out of the After Dark stable, so it’s a shame they are not making more effort to include more then the standard trailers on their DVD’s. I would have loved to have seen a short interview with the leading actress for example. Sometimes an insight into the players approach to the role can offer a different perspective of a film and entice viewers to repeat viewings.

Nevertheless, Fertile Ground features some chilling sequences, culminating in a truly horrific conclusion. So, if you ever inherit a property that has some ancient sepia photos of your forefathers hidden in the loft... you may well have to keep the lights on after watching this one!

Review by Marc Lissenburg

Released by G2 Pictures
Region 2 PAL
Rated 18
Extras :
see main review