TEXAS KILLING FIELDS
By Gary Murray
Starring Sam Worthington, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jessica Chastain and Chloe Grace Moretz
Written by Don Ferrarone
Directed by Ami Canaan Mann
Running time 115 min
MPAA Rating R
Selig Film Rating Cable
Usually, those ‘based on true events’ movies show up on cable networks, usually late at night. Some like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre have very little to do with actual facts. The latest to go down this well worth path is Texas Killing Fields.
The card ‘Based on true events’ starts the drama. The story is of Texas City cops who begin by investigating a simple homicide. Detective Heigh (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is a NYC cop transplanted to the small Texas bayou town. Detective Sounder (Sam Worthington) is the local guy who is estranged from his wife Detective Pam Stall (Jessica Chastain). The two cops are examining a dead body and see a connection. While Heigh believes that the death is a part of the Pearland murders, Sounder keeps reminding him in a very large volume that it is out of their jurisdiction.
Heigh has also befriended a local kid Anne (Chloe Grace Moretz), a little girl on probation who seems on the verge of becoming a teen runaway. Her family life is a shambles with a whorish mother (Annabeth Gish) and some sleazy hanger-ons.
There are some local pimps who may or may not be running the runaway girls down the less than primrose path. Our detectives think that the guy in the old Pontiac could possibly be our killer, using the young flesh for more than just prostitution. We build up to a super twist that is in no way a surprise.
The film is disjointed. Without giving away too much of the plot, characters do things that are against any type of logic or police protocol. These supposedly seasoned officers of the law make blatantly crazy rookie mistakes that would get one killed. Characters are thrown into the mix to be cinematic decoys in a futile effort to build suspense. If feels as if scenes are missing or out of cinematic order. Some in the audience were actually laughing as the twists became apparent.
The cast is very impressive. Chloe Grace Moretz was the little vampire from Let me in. Here she plays a much different character but with the same morose sadness. She is a young actress who just draws the audience into this misery with every pouting glance, Even though it is a very small part, Jessica Chastain makes the most of her fleeting scenes showing some powerful emotions when trying to be the tough cop.
Sam Worthington takes on quite a different role with his detective character. At times he is engaging and at other times he is over the top irritating. A real cop would want justice over jurisdiction. The reactions of this officer are strange and questioning.
Texas Killing Fields may sound like the latest horror but is runs more along the lines of a suspense thriller with little suspense and few thrills. Without the strong female performances, there is very little to recommend.