Army veteran -makes his debut in the action drama The Stalking Fields from Gravitas Ventures. Actor Sean Crampton (who also stars in the film) pens the screenplay with Jordan Wesley. The duo started writing the project a few years back, taking inspiration from their family members in the military.
Crampton portrays Woodman, a former Navy seal dealing with the severe ramifications of PTSD. Making matters worse, he recently lost his wife and unborn child in a car accident. Woodman decides to take a job at the top-secret AmaCorp corporation, a company with no public exposure. Among their responsibilities is to analyze people with criminal records or a tendency towards problematic behavior.
As soon as they find a target, they kidnap them, explain why they were selected, and then set them loose to be hunted by a group of disturbed government killers, formerly SEALs and Special Forces. The head woman in charge thinks that if mentally damaged veterans can kill and hunt someone easily, they will be able to relieve their stress. Thus it will be easier to integrate them back into society.
On paper, the plot for the film reads like another adaptation of Richard Conell's 1924 short story "The Most Dangerous Game." The simplistic plot has seen adaptations into many works across many forms of media, including film, radio, television, and video games. I hold two early nineties films that used the plot in high regard: John Woo's Hard Target and Ernest Dickerson's Surviving The Game.
Essentially The Stalking Fields follows the same template we've seen before, so your enjoyment of the film will depend on how much you want to shut your brain off. The Stalking Fields is a crowd-funded film, and it shows. None of the actors come across as seasoned pros, but they are having fun with the material and delivering the performances required. For a first-time filmmaker, Ric Maddox does show a commendable eye for action sequences and keeps the plot moving along quickly. Given that the director is a first-time filmmaker and I am a veteran, I wasn't too bothered by the clichés. Those who like action films will know all the plot beats and where the film is going in its climax.
If I had one gripe with the film, it would be the ending. While the filmmakers are hoping for this film to be a franchise, the cliffhanger they use is a bit mundane. Nevertheless, I've seen less enjoyable action films than this, and I look forward to what the filmmakers do next.
Final Grade: C
THE STALKING FIELDS will be on digital platforms on January 17, 2023.