The Honor Farm review: Prom night takes an unexpected turn in this new film which screens at Fantasia International Film Festival.
The Honor Farm review, Kat Hughes.
Lucy (Olivia Grace Applegate) is your typical good teenage girl, one whom is very excited for prom. Despite having made a pact with her BFF to save herself for marriage, Lucy is thinking of sleeping with her high-school boyfriend, as per prom tradition. Things don’t go quite to plan though, and she finds herself accompanying a group of teens headed to ‘The Honor Farm’ for a spot of partying. Once there, the party take some shrooms, and then things get really wacky.
At a very short 75 minutes, The Honor Farm really needs to lock the audience in from the start and whizz along at a fair pace. Instead it loses the audience early on by focusing too much on the build-up to prom. We get repeated scenes of Lucy and her pals talking about whether she should sleep with her date, alongside scenes of her boyfriend discussing with his friends whether Lucy will sleep with him. In such a tight run time there’s just not room for this dead weight. Then post-prom it takes what feels like forever for the group to actually get to the Honor Farm.
En-route to the farm the teens take their mushrooms and all go on their own personal journeys. There are perhaps a tad too many characters to fully explore any one person’s individual experience, and instead we just get a general generic drug trip.
There’s been a film before that featured kids tripping on mushrooms in the woods, Shrooms, but The Honor Farm is very different. Shrooms was a weird and crazy stalk and slash, this is a much more chilled-out affair; it focuses instead on a young girl entering womanhood and the importance of the ritual of prom night.
In many ways The Honor Farm could be described as a strange, modern day version of A Midsummers Night Dream. Couples are formed, strange creatures lurk within the woods, and everyone seems to be under a weird spell. There are also additional narratives involving a kidnapped woman, and a ritual to commune with one of the group’s deceased cousins. These conflicting plot points all vie for screen time, which given its short length, don’t have the time to fully mature. It feels like picking just one would have made a much more coherent film.
The Honor Farm review by Kat Hughes, July 2017
The Honor Farm is currently playing at the Fantasia International Film Festival.