Star Rating:

A Field in England

Actors: Michael Smiley, Peter Ferdinando, Reece Shearsmith

Release Date: Friday 5th July 2013

Genre(s): Drama, History, Horror

Running time: 90 minutes

Set during the English Civil War-but has that Beckettian setting of anywhere/nowhere- the story concerns itself with four men who band together to avoid the chaos of battle that is taking place just behind the hedgerow. Intellectual coward Shearsmith, hard soldiers Barratt and Ferdinando, and dim Ryan Hope make their way from the melee to an alehouse rumoured to be just across the field. However, it's a trap as Barratt has lured them into a field blessed with magic mushrooms, which he feeds to his unsuspecting new chums. Together, during their hallucinogenic freak out, they conjure another man (Smiley), who may be the devil or an Irishman, and who has a special mission for them…

Moody, violent, incoherent, weird, disturbing, intriguing, dull, funny, and bonkers are just some words to describe this oddity. A Field In England belies any attempt to slap a genre on it – it really is its own thing, which will make some applaud and others shrink back from the madness of it all.

Figuring out what is happening depends on what books/movies you've read/seen and if you’re not on board with the bizarre goings on – or what's really happening underneath it all - A Field In England can be a chore; a pretentious exercise in style. For those willing to just go with it, the psychedelic images, shot in sumptuous black and white, combined with the moodiness of cult horror Witchfinder General, will keep you on edge.

Director Ben Wheatley is a voice to be reckoned with. He and his long-term writer Amy Jump are four films into their career and four different kinds of films they are too. Like A Field In England, Down Terrace, Kill List and Sightseers are completely different from each other and each like to bend genres and rules. While the one constant with Wheatley's work is the threat of violence, and that threat being followed through, expect the unexpected is sound advice when approaching his work. The fact that he will still surprise you despite being forewarned says a lot of his talent.

A Field In England will make your head spin but not always in a good way.