At first glance, K.C. Bascombe’s 2003 film, Fear of the Dark, would appear to be nothing special; yet another direct-to-video horror film with mediocre cover art and a lackluster trailer. If you were brave enough to rent or blind buy this film, you will be right here with me, singing a different tune.
This movie is a good time, well acted by some recognizable faces — Kevin Zegers (Wrong Turn, Dawn of the Dead), Jesse James (The Butterfly Effect, The Amityville Horror), and Rachel Skarsten (Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer). The story centers around young Ryan who has an irrational fear of the dark and a family who humors him, yet grow tired of his delusional fears.
While this film is far from stellar, it has some amazingly tense moments, using the dark as an enemy and focusing more on the emotional trauma of a child so fearful of what comes for him in the darkness. While not without fault, the monsters are decent looking, but too much light shed on them reveals some rather cheap looking prosthetics. However, director K.C. Bascombe and cinematographer Marc Charlebois make some great choices keeping lighting very low and the camera from being too close to the monsters. One would think that if the monsters don’t work, the film wouldn’t either, but that’s not the case here.
The short comings are over shadowed by an above average fright film with terrific mood and atmosphere. Special effects artist Erik Gosselin obviously has grown. Since Fear of the Dark, he has done movies like Secret Window and Gothika.
This is a fun little movie that plays on childhood fears and does so without buckets of blood, so even the squeamish can be entertained by this “bigger and better than it looks” movie.
I give this movie 2.5 flashlights out of 5.