Texas Killing Fields Reviews

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Super Reviewer
August 18, 2011
Inspired by actual events, this is the directorial debut of Ami Canaan Mann- the progeny of the great Michael Mann.

This is a police procedural about two detectives trailing a killer known for kidnapping and mutilating women, then dumping their bodies in a marshy area of Texas dubbed "The Killing Fields". Their case takes a turn when the killer decides to set his sight upon them.

For the most part, this is pretty standard stuff. It's not groundbreaking, but certainly watchable. It looks great, and the cinematography is probably the best aspect. The cast are notable, but their performances are serviceable, but nothing more.

The film is suspenseful, but it could have used a lot more visceral moments and action. Also, the presentation is fractured in its chronology at times, which I found to be a bit unnecessary. As far as developments with plot and characters, you get just enough, but even then, a lot of it is just standard stuff we've seen before.

I give it credit though for at least keeping my attention, even if there's really not a whole lot that goes on. See it if you want, but it's fine if you don't.
Super Reviewer
May 18, 2012
Once in... There's no way out.

Not so good.... I really wanted to like this movie. It has good actors, and the chance of a great storyline. Unfortunately, that did not help this movie in the least. When it comes to this kind of cop film, you need direction, some one that can tell the story at a good pace, connect all the dots, get you engrossed in the mood of the film, make you sit and wait for more clues and so on, but this film lacks all of that. At the end your lost in the story, characters are totally uninteresting and you know when you are done with the movie that you could have spend your time differently. Not recommended!

Souder, a homicide detective in a small Texan town, and his partner, transplanted New York City cop Detective Heigh, track a sadistic serial killer dumping his victims' mutilated bodies in a nearby marsh locals call 'The Killing Fields'. Though the swampland crime scenes are outside their jurisdiction, Detective 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 goes missing, the detectives find themselves racing against time to catch the killer and save the young girl's life.
Super Reviewer
September 5, 2011
Cast: Sam Worthington, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jessica Chastain, Chloe Moretz, Jason Clarke

Director:Ami Canaan Mann

Summary: While trying to crack a string of unsolved murders in small-town Texas, local homicide detective Souder and his former New York City cop partner Heigh find themselves involved in a cat-and-mouse game with the killer.

My Thoughts: "The movie is not scary, bloody, or any kind of horror. It is a good suspense film that has a good pace and interesting concept. The film being inspired by true events makes it more interesting. Sam Worthington plays bad cop and Jeffrey Dean plays good cop, and it works well. Sometimes Sam seems to be a bit over dramatic, but he still pulls in a strong performance. I really enjoyed the setting of the film. It was dark and sometimes creepy. The editing and the script could have been improved and I would have liked some more action. But in the end the performances from Sam, Jeffrey, and Chloe really make this film watchable. Not bad for this being Ami Mann's first film. Can't wait to see more."
Super Reviewer
October 6, 2011
An explosvie and awesome film. I loved it. One of the best police thrillers in recent years. A haunting, tense, darkly compelling and hard-core crime-thriller that hits you hard and to the core. It`s one of 2011`s finest films. A gripping, well-character drawn and pulse-pounding movie that keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very end. A sizzling, stylish, heart-pounding and electrifying thriller. A wickedly entertaining and blood-pumping nail-biter. A triumph from Director, Ami Canaan Mann, who shows that she is a promising and capable new director. Sam Worthington and Jeffrey Dean Morgan have never been better, they give strong and and unforgettable performannces. These two actors are just amazing, and i love to see them work together. Worthinton is the brand on born star that shines in whatever he does. Morgan has a raw intensity that should be seen on the screen more often. Jessica Chastain is excellent.
Super Reviewer
½ December 4, 2011
Now I don't know if it is my immense love for Jeffrey Dean Morgan that made this film seem better than it was, but even if that is the case, I still thought this movie was worth the time it took from my life to watch it. Not necessarily the best crafted piece of cinema, and certainly could have done with some deeper character development, I still thought for what it was it done a good job. However, saying all of that, I am still unclear as to who the killer was in regards to the rest of the cast and sadly, I felt the ending left a little bit too much fairy tale in this film that should have been bone chillingly thoughtful, but sadly ended up tepid and confused.
Super Reviewer
½ January 20, 2013
After investigating the death of a young woman, Texas City Detectives Mike Souder(Sam Worthington) and Brian Heigh(Jeffrey Dean Morgan) find time to inquire into the welfare of Ann(Chloe Grace Moretz), a teenager on probation. What they do not have time to do is help Detective Pam Stall(Jessica Chastain) of a neighboring jurisdiction on her own case of a missing person. That has much more to do with their boss still being sore at them for a past transgression than the fact that she and Souder used to be married. Regardless, Heigh announces he will help with her inquiries.

Considering how ubiquitous procedurals have become lately, it is surprising that no one really manages to royally screw one up(or get one just right, either), but along comes "Texas Killing Fields" which manages to achieve a high level of incoherence through attempting to manage two cases at the same time. As inspired as this is by a true story, I got the feeling there was something desperately lurking beneath the surface but what can you do? Because, for the record, atmosphere, above average acting and a really cool car chase can only get you so far.
Super Reviewer
½ October 19, 2011
Ami Canaan Mann is none other than the daughter of Michael Mann. His directing skills sadly don't seem to be hereditary. The most basic skill a director needs is to be able to communicate information to the audience. I was scratching my head through most of the movie with no clue as to what exactly I was watching. There are plot threads that just seem to be dropped with no resolution. Corpses turn up and it's not clear if these are the corpses of characters we saw alive earlier. The geography is conveyed terribly; most of it is set in the "Killing Fields" which we learn is outside the jurisdiction of cops Worthington and Morgan, but we can never establish where their jurisdiction begins and ends. The overall feeling is like reading a book that someone tore a bunch of pages from.
The plot from what I could gather is based on true events where young women have been going missing in an area of Texas now known as the "Killing Fields". We get a good cop bad cop partnership who lend a hand to Chastain's detective from another county. Chastain is the only good thing about this film, she blows away the rest of the cast although I have to say Worthington is slowly growing into a competent actor. This is definitely his strongest performance to date.
There's really nothing here to recommend, it's little more than a poorly directed double-episode of a TV cop show.
Super Reviewer
September 27, 2011
Texas Killing Fields is a movie that should have been a TV series instead. There is way too much going on here for a simple two hour movie, leaving things confusing and unsettled. Based on a true story, Texas Killing Fields tells the story of an area outside of Texas City known as the highway to hell. Since 1970, more than 60 bodies have been found dumped in this desolate area and most of the crimes have never been solved. This film follows the arrival of a New York City Homicide Detective, who has moved to the area and starts investigating a recent series of crimes. If this film had stuck to the story, it would have been terrific, because there was a lot to work with. Instead, the film jumps between three different crimes, in two different jurisdictions, which leaves a team of detectives separated and working on their own things. There is absolutely no background story on the detectives, the victims, the suspects, or the fields, and when the cops are talking to people, it feels like you've missed a whole lot of background information. Everyone knows everyone in these small towns, but the writers seem to have forgotten that we don't know anyone and were left extremely confused. There are a dozen suspect and a new victim every half hour. With each cop working on his own, we are thrown back and fourth to the point where the film becomes unwatchable. Avatar's Sam Worthington stars and as with that film, he's really nothing special. The guy is an interesting side character at best, but definitely not ready to be starring his own film. His partner is played by Jeffery Morgan, who eerily looks like he could be Javier Bardem's twin. Morgan was somewhat better than Worthington, but again the performance was uneven and hard to judge, because it was simply impossible to keep up with what was going on. Texas Killing Fields had a real life story to play on, but too many good ideas for it's own good. The producers try to pack in as much as they could into 105 minutes, which wasn't enough time to tell the story, and left the audience scratching it's heads.
Super Reviewer
½ February 5, 2012
Texas Killing Fields succeeds as a police drama. Produced by the great Michael Mann, and directed by his daughter (her debut), the film has a great sense of mood and atmosphere, always keeping it engaging, one of the great strengths of Michael Mann. It does lack the same polish of other Mann vehicles, as the script is a bit unfocused, with too many side characters and not enough attention paid to the main plot at hand. The film is good at distracting from this, however, with strong lead actors, and a setting that is absorbing and creepy in and of itself. The characterizations are also done strongly, we feel the intensity of their actions. Scripting and some editing issues aside, a solid crime drama.

3.5/5 Stars
Super Reviewer
October 6, 2011
Showing a few flairs of excellence in an otherwise methodical crime drama, Texas Killing Fields is packed with rising stars yet somehow lacks in the thrills and suspense department. Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Sam Worthington occasionally fit the eccentric police roles and almost make the film enjoyable, yet with little screen time from fellow stars Chloe Moretz and Jessica Chastain and a half-baked "mystery" plot, the film fails to become anything exceptional.
Super Reviewer
½ October 27, 2011
The epitomy of average on every level, "Texas Killing Fields" disappoints because it could have been so much better. With director Michael Mann's daughter Ami Canaan making her directorial debut along with a wealth of talent in her cast and promise of the story I anticipated something more than the standard episode of "CSI" or "NCIS". Not that these are bad shows, I enjoy them, but this feature should have proven to be more. It had the room to spread its wings and the material to be more of a moody and dark tale of murder and the minds that do it. Instead of shooting for the elements of things like character development and the psychology of a sick-minded killer we are instead given what feels like an incoherent story that barely lets us in. It grazes the buffet of small town cop procedurals only ever so often hitting on something that could have really been interesting. Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays the recently transferred detective from New York to the small Texas town where he is partnered with the rough and aggressive Detective souder as played by Sam Worthington with a southern accent that tries a little too hard. Rounding out the cast is Chloe Moretz as Anne, a young abused daughter of a prostitute who becom entangled in the detectives case as well as fellow detective and ex-wife to Souder Pam as played by Jessica Chastain.
September 22, 2013
Great killer, great story, and followed up, not really fond of how they finish the movie, but its based on true events. For someone who knows about this killings, creepy as hell.
May 7, 2012
Based on true events, detectives Mike (Sam Worthington) and Brian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) are investigating a string of murders where the bodies are being found in the Texas Killing Fields - a bayou outside of town where multiple bodies have been found over the years. As they delve deeper into the mystery, the killer strikes close to home, and time is running out.

With a strong cast like Worthington, Morgan, Jessica Chastain and ChloŽ Grace Moretz, you'd expect this film to be stellar - but it falls flat on its face. The editing was horrible (they mixed some scenes up so bad at times you see Morgan with wounds that he receives later on), and the script was haphazardly done and the ending was contrived and strewn together. A big disappointment.
March 26, 2012
A pretty cool film with an excellent cast. Morgan is fantastic here, and Worthington is absolutely hilarious. I just wished this film had better advertising...I heard about it on IMDB, but aside from that, it totally disappeared from the grid. Anyway, check this film out...it's totally worth your time.
March 3, 2012
I'm going to say that Texas Killing Fields is "interesting enough" to keep one's attention and merit a watch. It might feel like a southern rehash of some of the crime dramas and procedurals we've seen before; but this one stands out because of its impressive cast and gritty depiction of poverty. Said-to-be-inspired by real life Texas events, the "Fields" are a string of marshlands (mazes) in which are commonly found dead bodies of young women near Texas City, Texas. Investigating the most recent discovery is a young female detective Pam Stall (played by who else in 2011 other than Jessica Chastain - The Help, The Debt, The Tree of Life, Coriolanus ...) who seeks help from fellow detective Brian Heigh (Jeffrey Dean Morgan - Watchmen, PS I Love You, The Losers). The two problems are that these Fields are outside of Heigh's jurisdiction and he is the partner of Pam's ex-husband, Mike Souder (Sam Worthington - Avatar, The Debt, Terminator: Salvation). And complicating issues slightly more is Heigh's concern for a local, unwanted waif of a girl, Anne (a very good Chloe Grace Moretz - Hugo, Kick-Ass, Let Me In), who's deadbeat mother (an unrecognizable Sheryl Lee from Twin Peaks fame!) pals around with various bad-news men. The story goes in a couple of different directions as our detectives each follow leads ... and it unfolds evenly and my concern for each of the characters was true. Seeing the sparkly, little diamonds glued onto her fingernails early-on in the film made me dread what would happen to little Anne (one woman is identified by her fingers) as Moretz has become quite the engaging actress. The film's director is Ami Canaan Mann ... and cinephiles should recognize that last name! She is none other than master director Michael Mann's daughter ... and I do believe she shows some style and promise here. She isn't as good as her father; but I see talent and am interested in following her career after this.
½ February 25, 2012
starring Sam Worthington & Jeffery Dean Morgan who play detectives investigate a series of unsolved homicides, which is pretty much out of their jurisdiction in the Texas Killing Fields. Which is in the Texas 'bayous' (wasn't aware they had them! Thought only Louisiana had those) The movie was interesting but not sure if I liked or didn't like it. It was never boring but just not sure how I feel about it. It at least worth a watch, riveting and all that type. I think it was pretty original, For this I think I'll just go with an Unsure C+
½ October 5, 2011
I was really looking forward to this movie, but it was so disappointing. My main criticism is that the story was so confusing and hard to follow. On the positive side, Jeffrey Dean Morgan does a great job in his role.
½ February 6, 2012
The directing debut of the great Michael Mann's daughter. Not too shabby I must say and it feels like I'm in the minority. You really do see Mann's style come to life through his daughters eyes. But I also felt a lot of the noir style that the Coen brothers set up with their debut Blood Simple as well. The casting on this film is perfect. Just like her dad, daughter got veteran actors to play small roles as well with Jason Clarke, Sheryl Lee, Annabeth Gish and Stephen Graham all playing important roles but little screen time that usually nobody actors would get. Worthington and Morgan pull off some amazing chemistry together showing signs of true partnership and friendship that is often absent in other crime thrillers. They are both three-dimensional, citing likable traits with a mixture of glaring character flaws which just helps the film flow far more realistically and engaging. The directing and cinematography are great, with the dark, gritty feel that one would expect from your better serial killer films. And the story, despite being disjointed, is a pretty good one. The plot was interesting and in some places startling giving the perfect recipe for a satisfactory crime-thriller. It doesn't offer anything new but in this genre it's kind of hard these days.
January 31, 2012
In the first complex shot, the camera team's shadow is visible on the road. Turned it off a few minutes later after I heard Sam Worthington's attempt at a Texas accent.
March 10, 2015
No mater what have said by critics, this is a Hi-Octane thriller.
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