Elizabeth Harvest: A slow burn sci-fi

While Elizabeth Harvest does have potential, the fact that the plot is revealed pretty much all at once and early on in the film isn't a good sign.

Horror movies that have a strong sense of mystery and ambiguity are often among the best horrors. While Elizabeth Harvest, directed and written by Sebastian Gutierrez, had such a strong and curious start, it unfortunately fell flat in the second half; ruining all sense of intrigue and suspense.

Elizabeth Harvest features a brilliant scientist who brings his beautiful, young wife to his massive estate and promises that all of it is now hers. All of it except one room, which she is forbidden to enter. Without any surprise, curiosity kills the cat and the newlywed enters the room on her first given chance.

What is revealed to look like human cloning, Elizabeth must pay the consequences when her husband finds out she has betrayed him.

The movie has such a strong start with a similar feel to the movie Groundhog Day, with the twistedness of a Black Mirror episode. The pacing was perfect, the plot was confusing (in a good way) and it was pretty suspenseful overall. However, as soon as the climax hits, the film takes a sudden turn and loses all its intensity.

Instead of leaving some of the storyline to the viewers’ imagination, (which is often an effective and terrifying technique) it basically explains everything that happened in the first half of the movie. It also does this in such an unimaginative way; reading the scientist’s journal. Not only did this ruin the film’s mystery, it disrupted the pacing as well.

Besides the storyline, the acting in the film was absolutely superb. Even the main actress Abbey Lee, who is originally a fashion model, put on a great performance. She was naive and calm, but displayed a sense of intensity at the right moments. Without the performances of great actors such as Ciarán Hinds and Carla Gugino, the film wouldn’t have been as intense as it was.

The cinematography and setting of this film were also extremely well done. While almost the entire film takes place in the mansion, which can sometime feel monotonous, the brilliant filming kept it interesting and feeling new throughout.

While I really wanted to like Elizabeth Harvest, the ending and change of pacing completely ruined it for me. If the film would have kept the mystery alive, it would have been so much better. That being said, those who like a good sci-fi thriller, I would recommend checking this film out as most of it is beautifully crafted and intelligently thought out.