Texas Killing Fields arrives on Blu-ray Hi-Def & DVD on Tuesday, January 31. Ami Canaan Mann directs an all-star cast that includes Sam Worthington, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chloe Moretz, Jessica Chastain, Stephen Graham, and Jason Clarke.
Donald F. Ferrarone wrote the script based on the real-life unsolved murders in Texas. The haunting story follows two detectives (Worthington and Morgan) as they hunt for a killer that is ravaging their small town with gruesome murders in in an area known as the "killing fields." The fields are located out of the detectives' jurisdiction, but the killer continues to tease them with clues and always seems to be one step ahead of them.
Killing Fields takes audiences into what seems like a different universe, much like Winter's Bone did when it was released. The moist and sticky humidity of Louisiana does a wonderful job of doubling for Texas. Having lived in the South, I can attest that things move at a slower pace, which is evident in the film. The cast did a great job of capturing the essence of the South, and its many unique and colorful characters.
The cast does a great job with the accents, even Worthington. A great cast with chilling performances makes the Texas Killing Fields a pleasure to watch, despite the gruesome subject matter. Moretz continues to impress me with her versatility and is powerful in her most mature role to date. Chastain seems to have starred in just about every great female role last year and for good reason. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is a solid actor who exudes intensity, and it's a shame he is not in more leading roles. Worthington turns in one of his better performances. Clarke did a good job of transforming himself with the blond hair and the many tattoos. I think Graham's performance was great, as solid as he puts in on HBO's Boardwalk Empire. Don't let his short stature fool you, he is a whirlwind of violence.
I don't believe this is a must-watch on Blu-ray; you would be fine with a DVD copy of this. The sound quality and lighting Mann uses in the film add to the realism but detract from the viewing pleasure. The only special features that this disc has is the director and writer commentary, which is paltry in comparison to many discs these days.
In conclusion, fans of procedural dramas on TV will enjoy Texas Killing Fields. It pushes the envelope further than network TV can, with its gruesome and gritty portrayal of the a shocking underbelly of society. For a first feature, Mann did a great job and I hope to see more from her. Texas Killing Fields arrives on Blu-ray and DVD Tuesday, January 31.