Our military is invaluable – preserving our rights, protecting our freedoms, and keeping us safe. The soldiers who volunteer to put themselves in harm’s way deserve our respect. We know the stories of the horrors of war, even if we don’t personally experience them, and we have become more keenly aware of the reassimilation issues, PTSD, and other trials that many of our warriors endure. Director Ric Maddox, with writers Sean Crampton and Jordan Wiseley attempt to present their version of the “most dangerous game” storyline and they quite assuredly fail.
I taught Richard Connell’s short story “The Most Dangerous Game” for years. His story has captivated generations and been the source of any man-hunts-man films. The Stalking Fields pits former special forces men and women against civilians deemed ungrateful and wasteful of the freedoms afforded to them. With the idea of returning these soldiers to war, a group of military personnel led by a colonel (Richard O. Ryan) and the amoral Israeli designer of the program (Rachael Markarian) handpick both predators and prey. The goal is to reprogram soldiers to kill for the cause, and one mass shooter/super-soldier (Sean Crampton) is the one they want the most.
The victims – men and women are trapped in a fixed game and the chase and bloodletting begin. The entire premise is stolen from stories like Connell’s, and Maddox and the team fail to add anything fresh. The few twists they toss in are predictable and hardly worth the bother. The Stalking Fields, too, might have been better with a more talented cast. From the muddled, confusing opening sequences to the chase itself, little captivates, and not one character deserves any investment from the audience.
To say “low-budget” is an understatement. Plastic sheet-lined cubbies make up “the base,” and the film’s balance is set in a forest, and a few flashbacks fill in blanks that do nothing to advance the one-note plot. Labeled as a thriller, The Stalking Fields does little to thrill, even if there is a graphically exploding head. I am placing one star at the top. I wanted it to be better.