Which is more terrifying: seeing something scary or catching a glimpse of something scary out of the corner of your eye, and then wondering what that scary thing could be? The shadows are always more unsettling than an evil exposed, and this fear of the unknown drives this beautifully shot short film, Fear. I hesitate to describe more of the plot but, in short, a young woman takes a bath alone waiting for her “love” to get home as she is plagued by flashes of things that may or may not go bump in the night.
Ironically, Fear isn’t that scary. It’s unsettling, yes, but it did not frighten me. It successfully bred a feeling of unease and disorientation, but it didn’t rattle me to the core, as some movies do. But I don’t think Fear was designed to truly frighten the audience. I think we’re meant to go on the same journey right along with the young woman (played by the gorgeous Jessie Rabideau): a quickening heart rate and anxious thoughts that lead to a swift descent into a fear.
For me, the best part about Fear is the way it is shot. It is an absolutely beautiful work of film. There are some truly stunning shots in the film; the production values of this short film are not low. Of particular note is the play between Jessie’s fair skin, blonde hair, and brilliant blue eyes and her surroundings. There is something almost supernatural about her beauty – she kind of reminds me of a fairy, if such a creature were real (Does that sound creepy? It probably sounds creepy. Sorry, Jessie). But the stark white of the bathroom (where most of the short film takes place) lends to this ethereal quality to the young woman and makes her trek into the darkness at the end of the film more startling. There’s a few other shots — the almost-obligatory mirror gag, a single drop of blood dripping down the sink drain — that are also just so lovely in composition. I cannot rave enough about the cinematography in this little gem. Gorgeous.
I also think there is something to be said for a film that stands on its own legs without too much dialogue and only a single actor. There’s not any fluff here, and it doesn’t feel like time is wasted or misappropriated. Every moment has a purpose, and every moment builds the suspense of the woman’s fear.
It just all makes sense – the decisions in pacing, color/set design, acting, etc. etc. I haven’t come across too many short films that are this tight and well-packaged. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what else the director, Steve Kahn, sends our way.
Fear is a short little flick that might not send chills down your spine, but it might give you goosebumps. Its strength here is finding the uncanny way in which familiar objects and daily tasks can become things that suddenly ellicit fear. Go ahead and give it a watch! And good luck forgetting about it next time your dog is growling at something in the dark.
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