Texas Killing Fields (2011) starring Sam Worthington, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jessica Chastain, Chloë Grace Moretz, Jason Clarke, Annabeth Gish, Sheryl Lee, Stephen Graham directed by Ami Canaan Mann Movie Review

Texas Killing Fields (2011)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Jeffrey Dean Morgan in Texas Killing Fields (2011)

Distant Killings

Detectives Mike Souder (Sam Worthington) and Brian Heigh (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) find themselves on the trail of a serial killer who is dumping his victim's bodies in an around an area of marsh known locally as "The Killing Field". Detective Heigh, who relocated to the small town from the city can't let it go as the killings move into areas outside of his jurisdiction and before long the serial killer is toying with the detectives. When Little Ann Sliger (Chloë Grace Moretz) goes missing it becomes a race against the clock for the detectives.

"Texas Killing Fields" is three things; it is inspired by a real case but is a work of fiction, it is a typical detective v serial killer story and it is a movie which doesn't work because of director Ami Canaan Mann's attempts to do things differently. Now I don't know anything of the real people and events from which "Texas Killing Fields" is based but right from the word go it follows the route of a typical serial killer movie. Yes there are the details and characters which make it unique but the way things play out holds few surprises as the dedicated detectives start being toyed with by the serial killer and the little girl they keep an eye out for goes missing so making it personal.

Sam Worthington in Texas Killing Fields (2011)

But the thing about "Texas Killing Fields" is that it doesn't have the natural flow of a mainstream movie with Ami Canaan Mann trying to do some things a bit different. It has an almost independent air about it with slow moving cameras which observe life rather than focusing on the characters. It almost feels at times like Mann was more focused on the look of the scene rather than what the scene achieved with far too many scenes looking too posed. It's because of this, because of what to me appears to be a distraction with look over story that "Texas Killing Fields" doesn't grab the audience like it should.

The knock on effect of this styling decision is that it keeps us at a distance from the characters. "Texas Killing Fields" has some very good actors and also likeable actors such as Jeffrey Dean Morgan but it feels like they are being kept at a distance from us because each scene ends up about the look rather than the characters. Now in fairness by keeping us at a distance from the characters does create suspicion but it also makes it hard to care when anything happens to any of them even Chloë Grace Moretz who plays Little Ann.

What this all boils down to is that "Texas Killing Fields" is an okay movie if you are a fan of detective vs. serial killer movies. But it is a movie which becomes bogged down by the look which keeps us at a distance from what is happening.