Synopsis: Based on a Clive Barker short story, a group of 3 grad students conducting a "fear study" as a graduating thesis project gather footage of countless participants relating their worst, most personal fears. The project evolves into something much more unsettling as the days and weeks unwind.
I've always liked Clive Barker's writing, but it seems like his stories haven't really translated to movies very well (notable exceptions for me: Hellraiser and Midnight Meat Train). So I didn't have very high expectations that this film would wow me, and it didn't, but I did find it to be a pretty good little film and one of my favorite of this year's crop of After Dark Horrorfest titles.
Although there is some gore and even a bit of torture, it's a pretty psychological, character-driven horror story... at times even thought-provoking. Don't expect all out action and typical slasher movie fare as this film has nice pacing, but it's more cerebral than in-your-face for the most part. The best way to describe the tone is uneasy I guess. It's just a nice atmosphere of suspense that washes over it all. The feeling builds to a conclusion that is very memorable and satisfactory I felt.
The main actors are all OK, although I found Shaun Evans as Quaid a bit over-the-top at times and bordering on silly. His decent into madness was excellent however. Jackson Rathbone, who is apparently in the Twlight movies, is solid and I thought had some great screen charisma with both leading ladies. All the characters have roles that call for a lot of emotion and I really felt each performance was spot-on. Hanne Steen has a particularly difficult scene when forced to "face her fear" and I must say, she was excellent to the point that I was really uncomfortable watching it.
This is a pretty engaging, ruthless and emotionally taxing film overall.
"There is no delight the equal of dread."
~ Clive Barker