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Texas Killing Fields (Blu-ray Review)

24 Jan, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Street 1/31/12
Anchor Bay
Box Office $0.05 million
$26.98 DVD, $29.99 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for violence and language including some sexual references.
Stars Sam Worthington, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chloë Grace Moretz, Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke.

Based on actual events, gritty drama Texas Killing Fields should remind most viewers why they don’t live anywhere near Texas City, Texas — home to a bug-infested, sweaty swampland apparently suitable for serial killers dumping bodies of dead young prostitutes.

Det. Heigh (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is an ex-New York cop who is still emotionally attached to an unsolved case back home. His hothead partner, Det. Souder (Avatar star Sam Worthington, whose Aussie accent appears to struggle at times with the role’s requisite southern drawl), is the archetypical good ol’ boy local, who, when not verbally agitating suspects smacks them around — a strategy that often backfires in spades.

Adding to his tension is ex-wife Pam (2011 ‘It’ actress Jessica Chastain in a smaller role), who is a no-nonsense detective from another jurisdiction seeking help on a similar case — which is actually the same one.

Intertwined in this morass is Anne (Kick-Ass potty mouth Chloë Grace Moretz), an independent tweener with the misfortune of having a ho-bag mom (Sheryl Lee from “Twin Peaks”) — underscoring the notion that education is in short supply and/or demand in these parts.

First-time director Ami Canaan Mann (daughter of Michael Mann) assembles a stellar cast and effective setting (actually filmed in Louisiana) that compensates for an incomplete plot. To wit, heavily tattooed character Rule (excellent Jason Clark from “The Chicago Code” and Public Enemies) is branded intermittedly as a prime suspect (with good reason) — a premise that mysteriously dead-ends with little explanation.

Perhaps Souder is smarter than his temper. “This place ain’t nothin’ but chaos. Your God don’t come round here. You don’t know where you are.”

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