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Film Review: “Fear” Lacks Nightmare Fuel

Written by: Matt Patti | April 25th, 2023

Film poster: “Fear”

Fear (Deon Taylor, 2023) 1½ out of 4 stars.

What are you afraid of? In Deon Taylor’s horror film Fear, the director attempts to explore a few different phobias. In the film, a group of friends head up to a cabin for a weekend getaway. The idea comes from Rom (Joseph Sikora, Jacob’s Ladder), who wants to propose to his girlfriend Kim (Tyler Abron, A Rich Christmas). While at the cabin, the friends sit around a fire and chat about their biggest fears. Soon, they discover a sinister secret about the property and must face their own fears to survive.

The ingredients for an intriguing, suspenseful horror flick are all here. The film takes place in a perfect setting for it—a resort in the mountains—though it’s been done before. The performances of the cast are passable, though no one stands out. The movie’s technical aspects are all sufficient, as well. Finally, the overall message of facing your fears is a decent one. However, even with these aspects, it can’t quite all come together to tell a compelling story. The setup is all good and well, but the execution disappoints.

l-r: Annie Ilonzeh and Joseph Sikora in FEAR ©Hidden Empire Film Group

I think a large part of why the execution fails is that Fear pulls from so many other films and feels unoriginal. There is one specific plot point that plays out exactly in the same manner as a very famous horror film that also involves friends staying at a cabin, for example. The movie also rushes through the background of the resort, and the lore is presented very loosely and sloppily, with no real foundation holding it together. Furthermore, events seem to happen for no rhyme or reason, almost as if randomized by flipping a coin. The plot is simply not very cohesive and feels more like many separate events coinciding at once.

The story introduces too many characters, so many that the audience is left with the difficult task of telling them apart. It is a bit tricky to recall each person’s individual fear, but it is even more laborious to try to find anything in a single character that makes them stand out from another. As noted, the performances are all fine, so it is sad that there is nothing that makes any characters stand apart from each other besides their very specific fears. Speaking of the fears, what could be the film’s strong point is instead perhaps its weakest link, as the individual scenes of folks dealing with what they are afraid of are uninteresting, dull, and lazily presented, making these fairly short sequences perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the film.

l-r: Joseph Sikora, Annie Ilonzeh, Ruby Modine, and Terrence Jenkins in FEAR ©Hidden Empire Film Group

In the end, Fear possesses all it needs on paper to be a successful horror film, but can’t quite put everything together to make a successful treat. Also, the movie is not very frightening or even the slightest bit suspenseful at all, with unrecognizable characters making questionable decisions throughout and the audience never quite caring enough about what may happen to them. Finally, and worst of all, the promise of the premise is broken and what remains is executed quite poorly and in a very mundane way. One of the fears not touched upon in this film is the fear of disappointment and, unfortunately, that’s the only fear that this writer was feeling upon viewing this film.


Matt Patti has enjoyed voicing his opinions on films from a young age. He has lived in the Baltimore, Maryland, area since 2015 and is a graduate of Stevenson University’s Film & Moving Image program. Matt is currently back at Stevenson University, working as the School of Design, Arts, and Communication's Studio Manager.

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