Thursday, 22 January 2015


Following on from my recent hot run of incredible shorts, including the likes of Call Girl, She and One Please, I have another highly regarded film for your delectation.
Steve Kahn’s Fear has drawn plenty of praise and is set to make its UK premiere at this weekend’s Beeston Film Festival 2015.
Picking up praise from critics including The Sunday Times, it offers a sophisticated and more psychological take on horror.
Interested? Read on…

FEAR (2014)

Dir: Steve Kahn

Starring: Jessie Rabideau

SPEEDY SYNOPSIS: This is a short so I’ll try not to spoil too much, but read on at your own risk.

A woman (Rabideau) at home alone one dark and stormy night, finds herself increasingly frightened by the events that unfold around her. Awaiting a phone call from her lover and regularly disturbed by her inquisitive dog, the atmosphere grows ever bleaker and the tension mounts as the audience finds itself swept along with her fears and anxieties.
Why is she so scared… and does she truly have good reason to be?

WHY IT WORKS: Fear is an exercise in restrained yet stifling tension. The short has been referred to Hitchcockian horror and I completely agree with that assessment.
Kahn uses the camera expertly to manipulate the audience into echoing the lead's escalating dread. He uses angles and lighting perfectly, constantly hinting at something truly horrifyingly lurking in the shadows or just out of shot. Just as the woman (played impeccably by the beautiful Rabideau) comes to fear that which she cannot see, so too are we.
This is guided by a sterling use of traditional horror set-ups, including (but not limited to) our heroine stepping into the bath, a dog barking, POV shots and some ominously-placed, steamy mirrors. As the plot languidly unfolds, we are kept on tenterhooks, anticipating and dreading the moment when this beautifully crafted steel trap will snap shut.
Obviously the success of the film relies very much on Rabideau's performance, without evoking any sympathy or effectively emoting the churning terror bubbling away within, Fear could well fall flat. It would be very easy to focus on her jaw-dropping good looks, but, while she is undoubtedly a very attractive young woman, that would be doing her talents a grave disservice. She is excellent in the role, providing a controlled and nuanced take on character. For pretty much the entirety of the short's 14 minute runtime, Rabideau is the focal point. With little dialogue, her portrayal is heavily reliant on subtle gestures, expressions and other physical tells to project the character's emotional state — and she is more than up to the task. She is a wonderfully capable actress and I look forward to seeing much more from her in the future.
Fear is very much an artistic take on horror. It is filled with symbolism and has a number of recurrent visual motifs —- not least that of swirling and spiralling, which so brilliantly reflect the lead's dizzying descent into panic. Broken glass is shown in close up, echoing the fracturing of her will and psyche, while the final heart-pounding descent into the darkened basement with just a fluttering candle reflects her resolve to face the all consuming darkness of her fears and the fragility of her wavering determination.
These are strong visual metaphors in a poetic and artful film that aims to do such much more than just frighten us — it positively encourages us to examine the very nature of the fear it instils. 
Fear combines fantastic and assured filmmaking with genuine vision to create a legitimately suspenseful and dark piece of art. You really should see it — I guarantee you’ll appreciate it.

SO WHERE'S IT AT? Well, if you’re one of Hickey’s House of Horrors’ many UK regular UK readers, you can get yourself to the Beeston Film Festival this weekend (24th-25th January) and check it out on the big screen the way it’s meant to be seen. Tickets can be bought right here. If you live anywhere near the midlands (or fancy a small break to try something a little different this weekend, check it out.
If you can’t make it — or you’re one of my overseas readers — never fear, Kahn and his crew are taking the film to several film festivals in the months ahead. You’ll get your chance I’m sure. 
Check out the short’s official Facebook page for updates on screenings — and give it a Like to show some support while you’re there!

10 WORD WRAP UP: Suspense, atmosphere and palpable terror in a superb Hitchockian short

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Until next time, I hope you enjoyed your stay.

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