Also known as The Rain, Dark Fields would be considered a not-bad Stephen King story if, well, Stephen King had anything to do with it. However, the SK vibe is all over writer-director Douglas Schulze’s tale about the small town of Desperation, er, Perseverance, where a horrible plague is unleashed upon the discovery of a mysterious top hat that represents an ancient Indian curse. The curse strikes the town in the 1800s, again in the 1950s and finally in the present day; each time, the townsfolk have to go through the painstaking process of choosing a child to sacrifice to a ghoulish-looking man with sharp teeth. Dark Fields is short on violence and gore but heavy on creepy atmosphere, making for an intriguing horror story that unfolds at its sinister leisure; the veteran actors, including David Carradine, Dee Wallace and Richard Lynch, are all excellent, as are most of the many child actors. Dark Fields is ambitious and imaginative, and Schulze deserves credit for keeping its multiple storylines on a tight leash — unfortunately, he might’ve done well to rein in the film’s scope a bit due to the low budget, as Dark Fields, for all its smarts and good intentions, looks pretty cheap‚ and sometimes feels like it, too.