Three detectives (Mike Sounder, Brian Heigh, Pam Stall) try to work together, as they unravel the gruesome mystery of a series of murders that involve women. The bodies are dumped in the infamous “Killing Fields,” and the detectives struggle to catch the sick and crafty murderers. Everything doesn’t go so smoothly at first. Pam Stall (Jessica Chastain) is the tough detective, who won’t take shit from anyone, and for the most part, she works by herself, but everyone needs some support every now and then, so she seeks some help from Detective Brian Heigh. Heigh (Jeffery Dean Morgan) is an understanding man, who has strong faith. He’s cool, calm, and willing to help, but Brian’s partner, Mike Sounder (Sam Worthington) doesn’t like the idea of crossing boundaries. Mike has anger problems, and he is a hot head. Mike is Pam’s ex-husband, but Pam works in a different jurisdiction. Mike is VERY strict, when it comes to working within the assigned jurisdictions for any detective. Mike doesn’t want to cross into Pam’s jurisdiction, and there are still some hard feelings between the former married couple. Brian wants everyone to get along, tensions continue to flare, but time is running out, as mysterious killers reek havoc in the state of Texas.
Good acting saves this one from a lower score here. Sam Worthington’s routine as the hard-ass cop/bully can feel tiresome at times, but his performance is still enjoyable for the most part. Worthington is very believable in this film, and his character does provide some entertaining moments. Jessica Chastain continues to blow me away, and she should receive some kind of award for the best breakout star in 2011. Chastain was very comfortable with her character in this film. Chastain’s good looks didn’t damage the toughness of her character, because Chastain was the strong and confident woman in this film, and Chastain was the perfect choice here. Jeffery Dean Morgan was pretty decent, and Chloë Grace Moretz continues to add to her reputation as one of the best child actresses in Hollywood, and Moretz was very convincing in this film.
There’s nothing wrong with the acting in this film, but I just couldn’t get into Texas Killing Fields. The good cop (Jeffery Dean Morgan)/bad cop (Sam Worthington) routine during the interrogation scenes in this film can feel VERY redundant after a while, and Sam Worthington repeats the SAME LINE after each one of these scene: “Don’t look at me like that!” I know I sound very nitpicky here, but Worthington’s catch phrase in this film drove me nuts. I just wanted to facepalm during these scenes, and the good cop/bad cop strategy in this film can be so annoying. Also, the obvious foreshadowing in this film gives away the identity of the killers. The foreshadowing for the identity of the killers constantly occurs throughout the entire film, and this just KILLS the suspense for this one, because the foreshadowing isn’t crafty at all. You can clearly see who the killers are, and it’s just so damn obvious.
Also, the plot in this film can feel confusing at times. At first, this film does focus a good amount of attention on the murder mystery, and it makes sense, because this is a CRIME THRILLER. But the tone of the story begins to change, and the storyline shifts to the problems with Little Anne. Little Anne (Moretz) is the victim of a neglectful and abusive family, and this film does focus a good amount of time on her character and family problems. Moretz’s character makes this one feel like a drama at times, and Texas Killing Fields constantly shifts gears, as they bounce back and forth with both storylines. I wasn’t sure what I was watching most of the time. I could’ve been watching a drama about a little girl and her abusive family, or I could’ve been watching a crime thriller with a murder mystery. The mix up doesn’t help anything, and both storylines can cause problems here.
Texas Killing Fields does feature a chilling and eerie atmosphere most of the time (mainly during the scenes that feature the “Killing Fields“), but this film was still a huge failure. This is supposed to be a crime thriller, but Texas Killing Fields can be so fucking dull and boring. I almost fell asleep as I watched this film, there isn’t any real suspense here, and the brief action scenes (if you can even call them that) didn’t do anything for me. The ending is so predictable, the attempted swerve didn’t fool me at all, and this one just slowly goes through the motions the entire time. Texas Killing Fields could’ve been something special, the story really wasn’t that bad, but this film does have a strong cookie-cutter feeling, because Texas Killing Fields just feels like a typical crime thriller, and I’ve seen this same type of film so many times. Jessica Chastain, Sam Worthington, and Chloë Grace Moretz helped push this to a three for me, because I was prepared to go with a one here.
Final Rating: 3/10