DVD REVIEW: Strawberry Fields, new on DVD, (15), (87 mins).

Nothing to do with The Beatles, these are strawberry fields that certainly won’t go on forever – the Kent backdrop to a tense tale of antagonistic sisters, the one desperate to break away, the other simply desperate.

Anna Madeley is Gillian who runs away, after the death of their mother, in search of her own life after years of destructive co-dependence with her seriously-disturbed sister Emily (Christine Bottomley).

Just as a little bit of life-affirming romance flickers on the strawberry farm with ex-con Kev (Emun Elliott), Emily turns up, inappropriately glam and with menace in her mind.

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She proceeds to seduce Kev and is clearly a threat to herself every bit as much as she to Gillian. The result is grim viewing, unrelieved by anything in particular.

Sure the background is beautiful, but we need at least the suggestion of something uplifting in the hearts of the characters we are watching. Alas, it just isn’t there as director Frances Lea’s dour drama plays itself out on predictable lines.

Of course, there is a degree of sympathy with Gillian, and Madeley certainly invests her with a spark of life, but the whole thing soon becomes a drag, offering no compelling reasons to stick with it. Low-budget doesn’t have to be resolutely downbeat, but it certainly is here, and while you might flickeringly be sucked into the dreadful intensity of the sisters’ duffed-up and damaged relationship, in the end it’s a film likely to leave you cold – despite the sunny blue skies of this particular Kent summer.

Strawberry Fields promises much, but simply deflates and disappoints, never answering the basic question: why should we want to watch this gruesome twosome and their mind games in action.

Phil Hewitt

Rental courtesy of Blockbuster. For details of other new releases, see www.blockbuster.co.uk.