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3.6 out of 5 stars
Texas Killing Fields [Blu-ray]
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2012
This movie was a total shock for me! I read some of the reviews, and expected it to be a throw away. This movie is inspired film making. The acting is great. Everybody fits their part. The actors make their characters totally believeable.
Writing and directing are really inspired. This movie is NOT fact based, it is absorbing as a serial killer thriller however.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
The film opens with the over used phrase, "Inspired by true events." Sam Worthington and Jeffrey Dean Morgan play two detectives in Texas City, Texas. They are investigating a murder of a young female while having to take care of domestic cases as a subplot. Jessica Chastain (The Help) plays CSI Det. Pam Stall. She is the ex-wife of Sam Worthington and investigating a disappearance in the "Killing Field." She requests the assistance of our two Texas City detectives who initially refuse because it is out of their jurisdiction. She is a "Dirty Harriet" type. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is from New York and plays the "good cop" as opposed to Worthington's "bad cop" role. Later we see their roles reverse. There has been 50 unsolved murders involving the Killing Field. Once a girl goes missing there, they are never found alive.

Chloë Grace Moretz plays a young troubled teen, taken in by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. When the killer decides to play a cat and mouse game with the cops, Chloë Grace Moretz becomes a missing pawn. The acting was excellent, even Worthington who I don't normally like. I enjoyed the steel guitar soundtrack. The plot lacked a good twist and needed a little more depth. If you enjoy a police crime drama, check it out. As a mystery... there are not enough characters for that.

F-bomb, no sex or nudity. Adult sex talk.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
There is an area known as the "killing fields" in Texas, where 30 girls and young women have turned up dead since the 1970s. This stretch of land runs along I-45 between Houston and Galveston, Texas and is the bloodiest stretch of highway in America. Here are the basics on the murders that have haunted the area for decades. Just 50 miles long, over the past 38 years nearly 40 women and young girls have been murdered or vanished along this highway. Their bodies have been dumped in fields, parks and the many bodies of water in the area, usually in a sickening state. As of today, the killer is still on the loose. And detectives admit, they're no closer to catching him--although scientific advances could finally end the macabre dance of death. He first struck June 17, 1971. Colette Wilson, 13, had been dropped off from school band practice by the conductor at a bus stop. The young girl seemingly disappeared from the face of the earth. Five months later her nude body was discovered 40 miles away. She died of a single gunshot wound to the head and her flute was never located.

The story is grim and unfortunately so is the film version written by Don Ferrarone, a federal agent who investigated the slaughters, who has said `If you can just imagine having one of these little girls out here...one of these young girls out here...and there's no chance for them to be rescued, to be helped. And they're on they're own.' It was the haunting faces of the lost that inspired Ferrarone to write the screenplay for the film.

The story for the film changes the names of everyone. Mike Souder (Sam Worthington), a homicide detective in a small Texan town, Texas City, and his partner, transplanted New York City cop Brian Heigh (Jefffrey Dean Stanton), track a sadistic serial killer dumping his victims' mutilated bodies in a nearby marsh locals called 'The Killing Fields'. Though the swampland crime scenes are outside their jurisdiction, Heigh is unable to turn his back on solving the gruesome murders. Despite his partner's warnings, he sets out to investigate the crimes. Before long, the killer changes the game and begins hunting the detectives, teasing them with possible clues at the crime scenes while always remaining one step ahead. When familiar local girl Anne (Chloë Grace Moretz) goes missing, the detectives find themselves racing against time to catch the killer and save the young girl's life. That much of the plot is linear, but the sidebars of the local cop (Jessica Chastain, in a completely unnecessary tiny role) who happens to be the ex-wife of Souder, the stopover in a house of prostitution for young girls, the smarmy family of suspects, and other incidentals simply clot the plot and make the dark film (mood as well as lack of light) even more difficult to follow. Worthington and Morgan offer good performance with the poor script they are given, but in the end nothing is resolved and the director finds the need of adding a happy-wappy resolution which is completely out of place. Grady Harp, June 12
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
I had been waiting for this to be released and saw it on demand on Fios so I rented it and I'm very glad I did.I don't know which genre it actually fits in but I would put it under thriller/Mystery seeing as there is a mystery involved and it does thrill.
Sam Worthington and Jessica Chastain are great as ex spouses who are both detectives working on murder cases but work in different jurisdictions,Worthington's partner played by Jeffery Dean Morgan is much more sympathetic to Chastain's character 'CSI Det,Pam Stall' and starts to help her work the killing fields while still trying his best to help Worthington in there jurisdiction.Chastain gives a tough as nails performance that is both believable and fun to watch.
Everyone is amazing in this film including Chloë Grace Moretz who plays the daughter of a poverty stricken mother who likes to party and pleasure the local men so her daughter has to roam the streets most of the time.There are some disturbing scenes and images but nothing over the top or gory.
I don't want to give anything away but it's very riveting and memorable.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Loosely inspired by actual events, TEXAS KILLING FIELDS starts off rather slowly, but evolves into an engrossing crime drama with some excellent, shocking action sequences. Its major problem is that it presents viewers with more questions than it ultimately answers.

Apparently, over many decades, there has been a series of unsolved murders on a large piece of swampland, located between Houston, Texas and the Gulf Coast. The killings remain unsolved, in part, because police departments in different jurisdictions, for whatever reasons, did not share information. [I gleaned this data from the Internet, because it is not made clear in the movie.]

In this fictional screenplay, written by Donald F. Ferrarone and directed by Ami Canaan Mann (director Michael Mann's daughter), small town Texas cops Sam Worthington, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Jessica Chastain are after a serial killer who is murdering young women and dumping their bodies in the swampland. Unlike with the real life homicides, they do solve their case, but there are a couple of intriguing, quite surprising "red herrings" along the way.

The performances in TEXAS KILLING FIELDS are first-rate, even if some of the character's motivations are not apparent in the script. What the film really lacks is some backstory, particularly for the detective played by Morgan, as well as a scene in which everything is put into context.

The DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment contains audio commentary by Mann and Ferrarone.

© Michael B. Druxman
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2012
Transplanted policemen have been a staple in movies for years. Take JAWS for instance. So it's not often that these sorts of films offer us little in the way of surprises when the theme is chosen. Such is the case with TEXAS KILLING FIELDS.

Brian Heigh (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is the relocated police detective in question. Having moved to Texas several years earlier he is teamed up with local hot shot Mike Souder (Sam Worthington). The pair are asked to be involved by the local sheriff (and Mike's ex-wife) when it seems a serial killer is on the lose.

The area in question is a matter of debate as far as jurisdiction is concerned. But killers never seem to worry about jurisdiction, they just find a place to dump a body and carry on. This seems to be the case as the bodies keep appearing and police keep investigating.
Even though it isn't in Heigh's area, he continues to look into the gruesome murders which weigh heavy on his mind.

Mike has a different attitude. He advises Brian to ignore the murders and concentrate on problems in their own back yard. But when the killer sees Brian taking notice he takes the murders to the police, leaving them clues and taunting them so that they'll stay on the case.

While all of this is going on a young girl in the area becomes a problem as well. Her mother dumps her outside while she "entertains" some of the local fellas. Brian and Mike both show some concern for the young girl and take her home giving her mother a warning. But if she did that where would the movie go?

The cat and mouse game back and forth between the killer, the police and the young girl is slow moving at best. The terrain is boring beyond belief to look at. And the mystery isn't all that complex that we can't figure out who's behind it all with little exertion.

All of the main actors involved in this film deserve better material and fortunately they have been getting it. This may not be the worst movie ever made but it's not one that most people would seek out and rightly so. There are far more interesting and entertaining films and mysteries that offer clues in with better methods. If the shelves at the local video store are bare, then perhaps this movie would be worth checking out. Otherwise let it slide.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2013
Two police detectives played by Sam Worthington and Jeffrey Dean Morgan investigate a series of murders (victims are young women) around the oil fields of Texas City, area known by the locals as "Killing Field." The movie's interesting cast includes Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Annabeth Gish, Sheryl Lee and Chloë Grace Moretz.

A major problem about the film is that the plot itself is not as interesting as the names of the cast. The subject matter ("inspired" by the true events, the film says) is intriguing, but the storyline is disjointed. I thought at first the incoherent narrative is intentional on the part of director Ami Canaan Mann, and each piece eventually would fall into place as the bigger picture emerges. But that didn't happen.

I also thought that the film's story was more about the psychological aspect of those who were desperately tracking down the elusive criminal, like William Petersen's detective in "Manhunter," directed by Michael Mann, father of Ami Canaan Mann. But I was mistaken as stock characters are unappealing, even the one played by Chloë Grace Moretz.

About halfway through the film I started to think the film was going nowhere. As the story heads towards the end, "Texas Killing Field" starts using cliché storytelling devices, which might have worked with better direction. The photography is dark and spooky, the only thing I liked about the film.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2012
I selected this movie because I am from the area of Texas where it was filmed, and also I happen to like Jeffrey Dean Morgan. The movie starts out rather slowly and stays that way through almost half. The way it was edited left the audience a bit confused as to where we were and what was happening in the scene. I gave it 3 stars mostly because of JDM, but I'm not sure I would recommend it to someone who isn't a fan of his or Sam Worthington.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2012
Not sure if it's the script or the editing but this movie is a jumbled mess. It's so disjointed I wasn't sure what time period we were in; what time periods and homicides were suppose to be a part of the factual basis to the movie; not sure of the outcomes for all the bad people and good people. Most of the characters seemed like black and white (only bad/only good) cutouts. Boring stereotype of prostitute life, johns and dumb cops. Usually when a movie is based on some factual event there is note in the credits to that effect with actual outcomes yet the lack of such information makes this movie a very dubious rendition. Since this was a so-made-up plot I would have scripted Chloë Moretz into an even more pivotal role.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2013
This should have been a lot better movie. The story line appeared to be good and, they did a good job hiring the actors. Jessica Chastain's performance was excellent.
But, they took good actors and good material and did a poor job of tying everything together and making it into a good movie.
The plot of the movie was full of holes and hard to follow. They did a bad job with the sound recording. And, it made it hard to hear the actor's dialog and still harder to follow the plot.
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