DIRECTOR: Anthony DiBlasi
STARRING: Jackson Rathbone, Shaun Evans, Hanne Steen, Laura Donnelly, Jonathan Readwin
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: March 23, 2010
For four straight years now, After Dark Horrorfest: 8 Films to Die For has been unleashed. Eight original horror films to quench your thirst for blood and gore and screams galore. Last year I was able to check out and review their third collection of horrors (Read: DVD Review: After Dark Horrorfest III: 8 Films To Die For), and was rather excited to check out their new slate this year! Instead of cramming every review into one mammoth review, this year we’ll take it one flick at a time, with this little opener stuck at the top of each one.
Within the realms of the horror genre, some of the scariest movies are those that are set in reality. Movies that involve situations and people that you could brush shoulders with every single day, or maybe that you even know personally. Dread is a film that is built around this concept, and it works on all available levels.
The movie tells the story of a college student named Stephen (Jackson Rathbone), who pretty much just keeps to himself and goes about his own business, careful not to step on any toes along the way. One day he meets Quaid (Shaun Evans), and the two hit it off over a couple of beers and a discussion about fear.
Eventually, Quaid offers Stephen a proposition: to make a film studying people’s greatest fears and what drives the, evolves them, or cures them. Needing a topic for his thesis, Stephen accepts and off they go with the assistance of Cheryl (Hanne Steen), who is skilled in editing. As it turns out, the trio all have great fears of their own which have haunted their lives, and when one of them takes the study a little too far, everything begins to unravel at a rapid pace, leading to some extreme testing that few will pass.
Dread is a movie based on a short story by producer and master of horror, Clive Barker, and well-adapted for the screen by director Anthony DiBlasi. It’s also a movie that you might enter into not expecting much, but I found myself surprised on all levels. It’s a solid story about what we fear as human beings, and how deep that fear can run, and it never tries to do anything unnecessary just to get a scare out of you. The scares come from the fears that these people have, and the situations that they find themselves in when forced to face said fears. While not all that similar, I got the same feeling watching Dread as I did watching the original Saw for the first time. Let’s just hope they don’t make 35 more of them.
The writing is strong and all actors give impressive performances. It’s rare to see one of the more obscure horror titles like this have one actor, let alone many, who can deliver worthy performances, but I was really pleased all-around. Add to all of this a good soundtrack and you have yourself a tense but enjoyable psychological horror film that stands out among its fellow After Dark titles.
Special features on Dread include a making of special, deleted scenes, and a conversation between writer/director Anthony DiBlasi and short story writer and producer Clive Barker which is definitely must-see!
Be warned: this is a NSFW Red Band trailer. Watch at your own risk.