Saturday, March 27, 2010
This is the second installment in the series of reviews for the After Dark Horrorfest 2010. After starting out with a bang with ZMD, I was eagerly awaiting the next film. I had heard good things about Dread, and knew that it was adapted from a Clive Barker short story, and figured it was a win/win....boy was I wrong. Dread is the kind of film that makes me really angry because it was full of such promise. There was so much that the director could have done with this fantastic story. Unfortunately, he chose to make the film plod out at a snail's pace, and never really develop the characters. A few of the actors(Jackson Rathbone, Hanne Stene, and Laura Donnelly) are quite good, and add some depth to the character. But the other male lead(Shaun Evans) has the best back story to deal with, and turns it into a ham-fisted unbelievable portrayal. I really, really wanted to like Dread, but it just wasn't in the cards.
Steven(Rathbone) and Quaid(Evans) are grad students who decide to do their thesis on dread. A clinical study of actual fears that scar and ruin the lives of their beholders. Seems like an awesome concept, huh? It is a little Elm Street-ish in it's premise, but could have been so much more. They start interviewing students and each other to find out what really scares them. We find out that Steven has a phobia of cars, due to a fatal accident involving his older brother. Cheryl is scared of meat(tisk, tisk), her father worked in a meat factory, and the smell has scarred her to this day. Abby's phobia is rather apparent, as her face and body are half covered by a very black birthmark. The most interesting story belongs to the annoying Quaid, who witnessed his parents slain by a maniac with an axe, when he was a child. The whole process of creating the thesis seems to be awakening demons in all of it's creators. The inevitable happens and Quaid snaps and decides to make all of his comrades "face the beast", which involves facing what actually scares them.
I can't stress enough, how much I liked this concept, it just utterly fell in execution. If the director cut out about 20 mins of dialogue, and added some more of the fears that were featured in the story, this would have been a contender of the year. But as it stands, I can only recommend this to ADHF completest, or to someone who has to see all of the Barker adaptations. This makes Midnight Meat Train look like The Godfather in comparison. Proceed at your own risk........