Okay, so I bought this film cheap, but I still feel ripped off. "The Legend of Harrow Woods" is quite possibly the worst film I've ever seen. In fact, delete "quite" and "possibly:" it is without doubt the worst film I've ever seen. It has no redeeming features: it is badly directed, badly produced, badly scripted, badly acted and the special effects - if they deserve to be called "special" - are laughable. (The computer generated rain at the end of film, which does not wet either the hair or the clothes of the actors, is particularly ridiculous.)
Worst of all it is overlayed with an annoying voice over of Poe's "The Raven," though any links to that great narrative poem are flimsy at best. The voice is that of Christopher Walken, a pointless waste of a talented actor. Other cameos are pointless also: Rik Mayall and Norman Wisdom, for example. How the producers of "Harrow Woods" managed to persuade such talent is beyond me: the only logical answer may be that they had something on them and blackmailed them into participating!
The reference to Poe gives us a clue to how the director and producers saw this film: they saw "Harrow Woods" as a serious film, cleverly referencing other horror genres, both literary and cinematic. Kubrick's "The Shining," for instance, is clumsily alluded to, as is Raimi's "The Evil Dead." The atmosphere is that of David Lynch, but it fails utterly to convey menace or fear.
The pretensions of this film are its most annoying feature. It tries so hard, irritatingly hard, yet in the process of making it "arty" they have lost the simple raison d'Ítre of a horror film: to frighten. Forget the flare and style, just tell us a good story and scare the bejesus out of us. In the hands of a great director, like Kubrick or Lynch, horror can be innovative and adventurous. But this director had neither the skill nor the imagination to carry it off. It had the feel of a cheaply made student film, with all his mates chipping in as actors and crew.
Asked for a summary of "The Legend of Harrow Woods," I would say that "harrow" may appear in the title, but it is more harrowing to watch. Do not spoil a good Saturday night: avoid.