Roughly one month after the Milwaukee-made Give Me Liberty exposed viewers to the abundance of talent that exists in the city’s ever-improving film scene, another locally-forged feature will further bolster the region’s growing reputation for high-quality production—albeit for largely different reasons. On September 24, The Field will be available On Demand nationwide. The 92-minute film might be set on the plain, but the ghostly, dimension-jumping plot is anything but.
Directed by Tate Bunker (Little Red) and executed by a crew “almost 100 percent” composed of Milwaukee creatives, The Field expertly blends arresting scenery and captivating use of color, impressive effects, and a beyond-its-budget cast of internationally-regarded actors trading dialogue with locally-known leads who are more-than pulling their weight. The film finds Ben (played by veteran Milwaukee improvisor and viral beer-passer Tim Higgins)—an overworked Chicago chef-turned-aspiring nature photographer—and his interior designer wife Lydia (Milwaukee actor/filmmaker Kara Mulrooney) trying to escape the hustle and bustle of big city life and save their marriage by moving to a long-deserted farm outside of Manitowoc. While trying to find some peace and acclimate themselves to a quieter way of life, Ben accidentally uncovers some eerie secrets in the field beside their home.
As the amateur photographer uses his equipment to investigate the potential of paranormal presence on his farmstead, the couple encounters a strange and mysterious woman named Edith (Veronica Cartwright of Alien and The Birds fame) and is met with opposition by a surly sheriff (Animal House and Seinfeld standout Mark Metcalf) and an intimidating gallery owner (The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Spin City mainstay Barry Bostwick). Oh yeah, and Mark Borchardt shows up a few times as a cashier who issues cryptic warnings and vague threats in a way only he can.
By film’s end, the two leads shine with convincing performances as spouses who are enduring difficult and oftentimes uncertain scenarios in a supernatural setting. Higgins, in particular, manages a surprisingly emotional turn in his dramatic departure from his comedic roots. Even more impressive than the admirable acting from each member of this small cast are the visuals and the chilling score that, together, make The Field a tense, periodically puzzling, and ultimately satisfying trip to a remote farm house in Manitowoc…and God knows where else.
The Field will be available On Demand starting September 24. It can also be seen as part of our Cinema Hooligante program at this year’s Milwaukee Film Festival.