Friday, October 29, 2010


Directed by Anthony DiBlasi.
2009. Rated R, 90 minutes.
Jackson Rathbone
Shaun Evans
Hanne Steen
Laura Donnelly
Jonathan Readwin

Stephen (Rathbone) is a film school student who needs a topic for his thesis. He’s also just met and hit it off with Quaid (Evans), a bit of a creepy sort who keeps asking him about his deepest fears and constantly telling him to “face the beast”. This isn’t the type of guy most of would hang around, but just go with it. Within a day or so, Quaid suggests they should do a fear study that Stephen can film as a documentary and use for said thesis. Stephen agrees and Quaid descending further into nuttiness ensues.

The basic idea is for these guys plus Cheryl (Steen), whom Stephen recruited to be their editor, to interview volunteers about what they dread most, hence the title. Whenever he doesn’t get the type of answers he’s searching for, Quaid flies off the handle. This is because Quaid himself is hiding a deep, dark secret that has caused him to be put on crazy people pills for the rest of his life. Well, he should be, but of course he’s decided to go off his meds. Not surprisingly, the interviews are soon not enough as he yearns to, eventually does, take the study to the next level.

Dread is a surprisingly well done, even well acted, psychological horror film. If you’re looking for some boogeyman hunting down hordes of teenagers, or for a creeky haunted house, don’t bother. There are some pretty nasty images but this isn’t a gore-fest, either. This is just twisted stuff.

There are flaws and a couple lulls that almost lose us. Once things get taken to “the next level”, it’s a smooth gearshift. We suddenly find ourselves with mouths agape and behinds scooched forward so they barely have enough seat beneath them to not have fallen to the floor.

The ending is reminiscent of the Saw franchise. I’ll submit it ends with a slamming door. However, this is somehow more sinister and sadistic. To recap: see this if you want to see a solid, screw with your brain type of horror flick that is not and adaptation of a foreign film from the year before. By the way, this is adapted from Clive Barker’s short story of the same name. Skip it if you want see a flowing stream of brutal homicides.

MY SCORE: 7/10

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