BLU-RAY REVIEW: Texas Killing Fields
Horrifying true events in this new hi-def home video...
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Based loosely on a string of unsolved murders which happened in the mid-1980s in League City, Texas, Texas Killing Fields comes to life thanks to Ami Mann, the daughter of fan-favorite producer/director Michael Mann. With a father whose career includes making some of the finest films in cinema history and her father on-board as a producer, Ami thankfully shows she at least knows how to bring to life an intriguing story with well-developed characters as she keep her viewers in suspense while the film's plot builds to an intense (though slightly contrived) climax.
Starring Sam Worthington (Avatar) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (TV's Supernatural) as Mike Souder and Brian Heigh, a pair of rough and tumble local homicide detectives, Texas Killing Fields starts off strong and gradually, slowly, and ever so carefully builds. In fact, the whole story of Texas Killing Fields takes a long time to become clear. Somewhat convoluted, the main story - which finds the detectives uncovering a number of related murders in the marshes near the town - takes a long time to develop and never really seems as interesting as the characters or their personal stories. Engaging, but somewhat overshadowed by these various subplots, the main story at least entertains, but never seems satisfying.
As for acting, the pair spend little time together on-screen and, instead, their relationship unfolds through phone and radio conversation and relayed messages through Souder's ex-wife and ally law enforcement officer Shauna Kittredge (Jessica Chastain, The Help. Another supporting role worth mentioning is ChloŽ Grace Moretz (Kick ***),. who plays the neglected and abused Little Ann Slinger, a young teen girl who has a unique relationship with Detective Heigh.
The Texas Killing Fields video transfer looks good, its 1080p video in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio provides a clean image. Considering much of the movie is set at night, in the dark and in both the local town of Texas City and the boggy marshes, the film's details and textures remain clear. Likewise, the film's Dolby TrueHD 7.1 surround track provides clear and easy to hear dialogue and effects. The dialogue is often difficult to hear from the center speaker, but other speakers fully support the soundtrack and effects well.
As for special features, the disc includes little. An audio commentary with director Ami Mann and writer Donald Ferrarone is included. The pair both share some interesting tidbits of information about the film, its story, setting, casting, and more. Worth a listen if you're a fan of the film and enjoyed it the first time you watched. The only other special features is the film's movie trailer.
Texas Killing Fields isn't a masterpiece. In fact, most film fans will think it's like an extended, more violent episode of NCIS, CSI, or NYPD Blue. For fans of these types of TV shows and movies, that's not all bad. That said, for those fans who appreciate stories inspired by true events or for fans who like suspenseful "who done it?" movies, Texas Killing Fields will feel entertaining and engaging. The acting is solid, the script is decent, the story is acceptable, and the setting is haunting.
Texas Killing Fields is available now on blu-ray and DVD wherever fine home video is sold.
- Jess C. Horsley