Film review | A Field in England - Ben Wheatley's folk-horror tale taps into deep dark currents

A Field In England - Reece Shearsmith as Whitehead

Cult British filmmaker Ben Wheatley’s previous film, Sightseers, turned a Brummie couple’s caravan tour into a murder spree. A Field in England is even more bizarre.

A surreal black-and-white horror story set during the English Civil War, the film finds a trio of battlefield deserters (including The League of Gentlemen’s Reece Shearsmith) falling into the clutches of a sinister alchemist (Wheatley regular Michael Smiley), who forces them to aid him in his search for buried treasure.

It gets stranger and stranger. The men play tug of war against a seemingly occult force; Shearsmith’s timid protagonist eats magic mushrooms and trips out; people die and come back to life. Then there are the moments when the characters freeze in tableaux-like poses.

At times, the film’s spell breaks, leaving the actors looking like a bunch of Sealed Knot re-enactors going bonkers in a field. For the most part, though, Wheatley - aided by customary cinematographer Laurie Rose and writer-partner Amy Jump - creates a powerfully unnerving mood that taps into dark, deep and very weird currents of English folk myth and mystery.

Marking a first for UK film distribution, A Field In England will be available simultaneously in cinemas, on Film4, VOD, and on DVD and Blu-ray, all on 5th July 2013.
Find out more on the film's official site.