Texas Killing Fields

Year: 2011
Production Co: Anchor Bay FIlms
Director: Ami Canaan Mann
Writer: Donald F Ferrarone
Cast: Sam Worthington, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chloë Grace Moretz, Sheryl Lee, Jessica Chastain, Stephen Graham

You can see the quality exuding from nearly every frame of this film. Unfortunately, you can barely understand a word of dialogue beneath the mumbling drawl of the characters. Ironically, it's the first time Sam Worthington's ever done a decent accent.

The title refers to a swampy area of bayous in rural Texas that's the final resting place of dozens of murder victims. Smart local detective Mike (Worthington) is partners with Brian (Morgan), a former New York cop with a very different approach to justice.

Though the swamps aren't in Brian and Mike's jurisdiction, Brian – against Mike's repeated discouragement – becomes obsessed with finding a killer that's been striking recently. There's an underage sex trafficking ring nearby and a band of creepy hangers on that surround a morally loose local woman, but even though they all take part in the bloody climax I could never figure out what they had to do with anything.

Then there's the subplot of Mike's ex-wife (Chastain), another detective whose jurisdiction they do seem to be in, and a local runaway (Moretz) for whom Brian is an erstwhile father.

It all moves languidly, like a gator through a muddy swamp, and Mann (daughter of legendary director Michael) has a great eye and knows her subject. It's just a shame more of it didn't poke it's head above the surface of the impenetrable dialogue and vernacular. Released at the same time as The Debt, it flopped completely.

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