Describing itself as a ‘visually poetic film’, Fear follows the exploits of a young lady (Jessie Rabideau) as she has a bath in preparation for her lover coming over. She is interrupted by several events which put her increasingly on edge, forcing her to go wandering through her home in the dark as a storm has wiped out the power. Is there someone in the house with her, or is it just her imagination running wild?
I won’t say much more on it, plot-wise; to be honest, that’s pretty much it, right there. But that’s not putting the film down in any way, as short films work best for me when they aren’t relying on feature film plot mechanics. What we get instead is a really beautifully filmed art piece: director, writer, editor and cinematographer, Steve Kahn, has done an excellent of shooting Fear. Giving it a crisp, clean look that is often missing from low budget films, the visual tone is consistent throughout, even in the lowly lit later scenes. It is also nicely constructed, with some well-timed edits, and a surprising sense of humour (the marauding duck was great).
It’s just a pity then that Fear never really conveys any… well, actual fear. We never get a sense of what could set someone on edge so much in their own home (even during what looked like one of the most insane storms I’ve ever seen); what is there is buried in visuals (there is only a few sparse lines of dialogue), which was obviously the intention, and is absolutely fine. But the film misses out on delivering us tension in the climax, and what drags it down is the use of music. The score, while beautiful in itself, just feels out of place, without adding to the timing or rythm of the piece, and when the final, obscure moments roll around, you feel a tad short changed.
Jessie Rabideau does fine in her mostly silent role, and the film plays on a pet fear of mine; namely broken glass and bare feet. Unfortunately it might not deliver on its title, but if beautifully shot indie films are your cup of tea, then catch Fear if you can.
For more information on Fear and screenings: