Having never actually seen an episode of the original web series, which premiered on FEARnet.com, I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting into with the all new feature film, Fear Clinic. Luckily for me, Robert Hall has made a thoroughly entertaining film with original ideas and tons of creativity.
Dr. Andover (Robert Englund) is a renowned physician who has invented a chamber that facilitates in the exploration and treatment of phobias. After a tragic event, however, the good doctor has taken a leave from his practices. He is forced into reopening his fear clinic once again, when a number of former patients return, a year after originally being treated for various forms of PTSD, brought upon by a fatal shooting at a local diner. As the patients flood in, Dr. Andover resumes treatment, only to be overrun by a malevolent entity which feeds off of his patients’ fears.
I’ve heard mixed opinions about Fear Clinic, but I really don’t see how anyone could have anything negative to say about it. I guess, technically, I can see how this film isn’t for everyone, but it is certainly highly original, which is what this genre desperately needs. I had no idea it was going to morph into a creature-feature of sorts, but when it did, there was no turning back and it was lovely!
The special effects, both practical and visual, were impressive. With a few exceptions, which were too miniscule to even matter, this film looked great. From all of the bullet wounds and aftermath of the film’s shooting scene to the encompassing supernatural, tendril-like mucus that made up the entity, everything looked amazing.
I remember when Curse of Chucky was finally released, everyone went crazy over how great of a job Fiona Dourif did. I then remember actually watching the film and being completely and utterly disappointed. I thought she was boring and quite awful, to be frank. This time around, however, I think Dourif did remarkably. She played the role of Sara perfectly and I couldn’t find anything wrong with her performance, even if I tried. In addition to her awesome acting, the entire cast pulled their weight, as well. Everyone from Cleopatra Coleman as the arachnophobic Megan and Thomas Dekker as the mysterious stranger, Blake, to Kevin Gage who provided some comical relief and Slipknot/Stone Sour frontman, Corey Taylor, as Bauer, did a surprisingly wonderful job. The acting was on point the entire time and nobody missed a beat. Of course, that goes without saying that horror royalty, Robert Englund, also did a marvelous job as the clinic’s doctor and inventor of the fear chamber, Dr. Andover.
I’ll admit that, at one point, I had no idea where Fear Clinic was going. There seemed to be no logical progression and I feared that the end of the film would ruin everything that the first 2/3 had so delicately created. The introduction of the entity/creature initially didn’t make much sense to me, but as further explanation developed, I realized the genius of it all. I think everything worked itself out perfectly and I highly encourage you guys to check this film out.
While I wish there were some more special features included in the disc, like the original webisodes and even the music video for Stone Sour’s “The Dark,” also directed by Robert Hall, there is a nice little behind-the-scenes featurette that will have to do. Fear Clinic is now available on Blu-ray and DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment, so purchase a copy and let me know what you think!
I give this film 4 frightening flashbacks out of 5.