Ben Wheatley (Sightseers and Kill List) continues to disturb and challenge his audience with his latest period psychological horror A Field in England.
Wheatley’s latest venture is a brain-scrambling piece, a collection of vivid tableaux that may be incoherent to some and hypnotic to others. With a stand out central performance from Reece Shearsmith, A Field in England dares to invite the audience into its psychedelic mushroom circle, but doesn’t spoon feed it’s audience with answers to it’s strange and somewhat elusive secrets.
It’s the height of the English Civil war, alchemist coward Whitehead (Shearsmith) is sent into the midst of the battle to carry out a task set him by his master. Failure is not an option and desperate to flee the the conflict Whitehead stumbles upon three other deserters (Ryan Pope, Peter Ferdinando and Richard Glover), quickly becoming ensnared by the seemingly friendly leader, Cutler (Pope) who takes the weaker minds with mind altering mushrooms and reveals his sinister intentions. Before long Whitehead and his comrades are at the mercy Cutler’s master, O’Neill (Played with magnificent sneer by Michael Smiley) and his search for hidden treasure in the fields.
As established by the excellent Kill List, Wheatley is a master of the uncanny, and his latest film often feels like an exploration of all the ways we can be unsettled as an audience.
A Field in England largely disturbs and unsettles an audience because it confounds the senses: sinister folk songs bring a note impending dread and Wheatley’s use of split screen and mirrored effects serve to contort the film into a living nightmare.
Be warned of the darkness that dwells here, Wheatley is a master of horrifying the everyday and as seen in Sightseers will have you laughing while terrified which only adds to disturb and rattle his audience.