Well, I’m starting to have to get really inventive in titling these articles as I attempt to not just simply become the “horror movie recommendation guy” from H-Razzi. I’ve said it a dozen times that I much prefer a smart and simple production to anything CGI and explosive where bombs make up for lack of dialogue, and yet finding a clever barely funded film is harder than it seems. Too often are “low budget” designations awarded to student films that border on directorial masturbation as they attempt to out-reference and ply layer upon layer of indecipherable meaning to their pieces. So, when smart men and women combine to create a pretty decent and damn scary production like Dread I will stop to give credit where credit is due.
Based on the short story by horror-expert Clive Barker (author of the stories that inspired Candyman and Hellraiser), “Dread” follows the story of a group of university students (a go-to for low-$ productions) seeking to understand their fears. But, as the film elaborates, it’s not just simply fear they’re looking to examine: it’s pure and all-consuming dread. A type of fright that takes over your entire mind and body. While some of the fears border on the typical (clowns wielding axes) there’s more simple phobias like eating meat that are included to round off the kids’ worries. That said- as you’ve probably guessed- all the dreads are confronted in such a forceful and unavoidable matter that the viewer is witness to some horrific and terrified responses that have you leaving the movie scared to death of the same threats.
Dread is not the greatest movie I will review this month. Hell, it isn’t even the greatest pick of the week. But, I do like giving nods to smaller productions that don’t rely on big names and which still manage to pull of a good showing. The main “hot” man of this is Jackson Rathbone who provides an odd prettiness to the screen that borders on androgynous if you ask me. Certainly not my type but by no means unattractive. However, his part isn’t really meant for a heart throb but rather a dark and disturbed type that he pulls off extremely well. Most of the other actors spend so much time brooding and screaming it’s hard to get an accurate account of their likes so let’s go with “above average”!
The movie is not for the feint of heart- I know, Adam, it’s a thriller. Still, there are scenes that border the film into the gore category but not in the typical “saw an eyeball out of the socket with a rusty spoon” way. And, for that I also appreciate this work. It looks at the concept of fear rather than just inciting it in its viewers. Nothing is revolutionary here but more than a couple film geeks might come out saying either “I wish I thought of that” or “I swear I had that same idea 3 years ago”… or, maybe that was just me! Enjoy and let me know what you think!