Friday, 6 May 2011


Year: 2009
Director: Anthony DiBlasi
Screenplay: Anthony DiBlasi, based on the short story "Dread" by Clive Barker
Starring: Jackson Rathbone, Shaun Evans, Hanne Steene, Laura Donnelly, Jonathan Readwin
Running Time: 108 minutes
Genre: Horror, psychological

Summary: Present day America: Film student Stephen Grace (Rathbone) befriends mysterious psychology student Quaid (Evans). Stephen agrees to help Quaid with his research project into the nature of fear and introduces Quaid to his classmate and editor Cheryl Fromm (Steene). The three interview volunteers about their earliest experiences of fear and record the interviews on camera. Quaid becomes angry about their lack of progress and also about the fact that his two colleagues just see it as another college project. Disturbed by his increasingly irrational and violent behaviour, Cheryl and Stephen decide to quit. However, Quaid has just started his experiments and intends to take them "to the next level". Soon Cheryl and Stephen find themselves plunged into their own very personal nightmares.

Opinion: This movie is based on a short story by Clive Barker, which was originally published in volume two of his short story collection Books of Blood (1984). It's kind of unusual for a Clive Barker story in that there are no supernatural or other fantasy elements. As a short story, the tale was tense, tight and gripping. However here, necessarily expanded in order to fit the running time, some of the tension is lost. Mostly it works pretty well though.
The film benefits from a strong atmosphere and does well with it's low budget. The film is shot with high contrast between light and shadow and at times the amount of shadows on screen can be irritating, and there are moments when it is difficult to distinguish what is going on.
While the horror in the film is predominantly psychological, there is a high level of violence and plenty of gore. There are also plentiful scenes of people being graphically tormented in grimy rooms in the manner popularised by the likes of Saw (2004) and Hostel (2006).
The film is relentlessly downbeat and the all-pervading gloom (in every sense) may prove too strong for some viewers.
The performances are good from a largely unknown cast, and, despite some occasional lapses in pacing in the middle part of the film, the whole thing moves pretty well.
The whole film is largely well-made, and has plenty of atmosphere and tension, and enough surprises to keep fans of the genre entertained.

Shaun Evans researches Dread

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