The Honor Farm is a lot like night at the Prom. Filled with aspirations, beautiful to look at, but desperately grasping at profundity that never comes. Screened at SXSW this past week, The Honor Farm is the story of Lucy (Olivia Grace Applegate) and her gal pal Annie (Katie Folger) who have been eagerly anticipating senior prom. The dresses picked, the teeth whitened, the dashing dates in waiting, it all promises to be as magical as the glittery strands of tinsel dangling from the rafters in the gymnasium. Sadly, their frat boy dates have a far less regal expectation for the night and a string of disappointing events lands the two ladies at a gas station in the middle of the night. It is at there that another group of high schoolers run into them during a quick fuel stop.
Laila (Dora Madison) rolls her head out of the passenger side window and tells the two promsters to join them are headed to a more interesting destination. Where is this group of milquetoast hoodlums headed? The Honor Farm. Along for the ride are nerdy Sinclair (Liam Aiken) and the ruggedly handsome JD (Louis Hunter).
What is the titular destination? Great question. The kids pack into the car and end up in the middle of the deep woods to drink, do mushrooms and to essentially trip, wander, and contemplate the meaning of life. At one point in the film JD espouses that sometimes it’s not the destination that is important but the journey. Sold as an existential horror film, The Honor Farm is neither scary or meaningful. The film unfolds as a sort of vision quest for the Teen Vogue set where the young adults playing teenagers stumble around the forest, doe-eyed, in search of a plot. Now, let’s be clear. A plot wouldn’t be that important if the characters were interesting. Unfortunately, they are not boring but hardly creations to hang a movie on.
The film is not a total wash though. The look of the film is slick, clean, and worthy of note. Co written by the director,Karen Skloss the story is nonexistent and in need of work. Yet Skloss‘ direction shows major promise with its crisp framing and ability to work an ensemble and keep things moving. That’s not to mention the impeccable score and music selection.
At the end of the day, The Honor Farm is not a disaster. Watchable, to be sure, yet devoid of a compelling narrative.
|The Honor Farm|