Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dread (2009)

Note: This review is part of my coverage of Horrorfest IV.


My expectations for Dread were probably a little high, being that it's an adaptation of a Clive Barker story. Not to give the wrong idea, it's a really good movie, and a faithful adaptation of the source material. But it's the one movie I was looking forward to the most out of Horrorfest 4, and yet I'm not sure it's the best movie in the set. It's a really well-made film, but it didn't affect me the way the original story did, and I'm not sure if that's because it works better as a short story, or if it's because I read the story first, and so the concepts weren't as fresh for me while watching the movie.

In any case, it's a great story about fear. A philosophy major and a budding cinematographer get together to do a thesis project on examining people's fears, starting with on-camera interviews with volunteering subjects. But the one guy is a little too obsessed, and he insists on taking the project to inhumane, even downright sadistic, extremes for the sake of his research. It's a great study of people's fears, and the dread that people experience when those fears are looming over their head, or staring them right in the face.

And to me, the concept of facing one's fears, and the prospect of overcoming one's fears, is of deep personal interest. I'm not sure I want to spoil the highlight of the story, but it makes a really strong point about something that I, and most people who are intimately acquainted with their fears, understand on a visceral level. And that's the concept that when you're forced to face your fears, the longer you wait, the worse it gets. And so, by succumbing to your fear, and allowing yourself to be afraid, you are responsible for making it that much worse. And yet you do it anyway, because you're afraid. It's a terrifying truth that torments me unendingly.

There's also a very interesting special feature on the DVD - an interview with the director and Clive Barker, as they talk about the film, the short story, and the concepts involved. As another aside, the actor who plays the main protagonist just has this look and mannerisms that remind me of Johnny Depp. It's eerie.

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