So at the end of Screamfest on the closing night, the time had come for the world to see Fear Clinic the Movie, a year in progress as CEO Sean Evans has been working the Marketing and Advertising for what was anticipated to be one of the festival’s bigger movies.
This review will be entirely non bias even with my involvement in the movie, the review will purely be from a fans perspective and any criticisms or praise will be my own opinion regardless of my involvement in the movie.
The film revolves around a shooting that takes place in a diner that traumatizes a group of survivors who check themselves into the Fear Clinic, a clinic run by Dr.Andover a man who has created a unique way of treating phobia’s using a revolutionary new technology called the fear chamber. The fear chamber works by re-animating your worst fears into hallucinations so you can combat your fear face to face. However within the story the fears start manifesting themselves in the real world and this new technology that Dr.Andover has created is slowly opening up a doorway to allow fear incarnate to wreak havoc on the patients of the clinic.
Fear Clinic has an incredibly strong cast line up with Robert Englund (Nightmare on Elm Street) reprising his role as Dr.Andover, Thomas Dekker (Heroes) as Blake, Fiona Dourif (Curse of Chucky) as Sara a survivor of the diner shooting, Angelina Armani (Chromeskull 2) as another survivor Caylee and Corey Taylor in his first ever acting role as Bauer a porter at the clinic. Joining this stellar cast are a whole host of other amazing talent including Brandon Beemer, Cleopatra Coleman, Kevin Gage and Felisha Tirrell.
The movie as a whole was incredibly strong, what started off as an incredibly slow build up actually built the story up rather nicely and gave us some in depth character building and information, it is rare to see a good character build in indy horrors but Fear Clinic did it maybe even too much at times. Either way the second half of the movie eclipses the first by a long shot, once the story is set the action begins and with Bob Kurtzman and Steve Johnson behind the SPFX team the excitement and effects do not disappoint. As fear incarnate slowly starts to develop in the real world the SPFX team has amazingly brought this character to life taking on a persona that was unsettling to watch (Minus the visable bald cap on Robert Englund’s head). The intro to the movie however slow always had a creepy and uncomfortable vibe, almost putting you in the clinic itself, testing your nerves, straining your ability to relax and always putting you on edge for what is about to come. It was a great touch and full credit to the team for drawing it out over the films duration without letting go of that emotion.
With each character in the movie having a specific phobia in addition to the re occurring nightmare of the diner shooting, the movie plays on those phobia’s and projects them nicely to the audience. The only character however without a fear is Dylan (Beemer) who within the story is the macho character that has no phobia, but in an amazing twist towards the end it is Dylan who slowly develops the phobia of fear itself with fateful consequences.
Robert Englund originally for me would be the stand out performer in this movie due to the fact Robert created a character with such emotional depth and feeling than any other role I have seen him portray, but the show doesn’t stop there. The whole cast actually blew my expectations to pieces, my expectations naturally being rather low to start with. Fiona Dourif put in an outstanding job, Brandon, Felisha and Cleopatra all put in their shift but for me the stand out performers within the movie were Thomas Dekker, Corey Taylor, Kevin Gage and Angelina Armani for the following reasons.
This was Corey’s first acting gig so I was thinking ok, a little cameo and that would be that, but his chemistry and humour with Kevin Gage’s character is a joy to watch. Both Corey and Kevin are incredibly funny throughout the movie and it really gives that creepy dark setting a ray of light for the audience to connect with.
Thomas Dekker plays Blake a man who has been injured in the shooting and is confined to a wheelchair, his portrayal of this character was so believable that a certain turning point in the story blew me away as he played the character so convincingly!
Last but not least Angelina Armani plays a character who refuses to eat, still traumatized by the events that took the life of her little boy, Angelina portrays a gaunt almost empty shell of the person she once was and as the fear chamber starts playing with her mind she starts to slowly driven crazy, its amazing to see and her performance is very creepy and helps the story to develop rather nicely.
The film contains deep undertones and emotional depth in terms of people’s fears and phobia’s but there are some points within the movie that need to be tightened up a bit. Certain scenes need explaining more and as fear incarnate starts to manifest itself the build up and gore is lacking within the story so even thou the creature looks amazing, it doesn’t strike fear into the audience which is a shame as now the audience is isolated from the story. Never the less the movie flows nicely and as it stands its a great introduction to a franchise but it does feels quite rushed in places and action is scarce in places as the build up is painstakingly drawn out, hopefully this is tightened up for the DVD release version or Director’s cut.
The SPFX are magnificent, so good that the entire Screamfest crowd were stunned when the movie didn’t pick up a Best SPFX award. The only scene that showed poor SPFX for me was an awful spider sequence with Cleopatra Coleman, they looked so fake and terrible that it was embarrassing to watch.
The acting is solid in places but the story just just doesn’t add up. As black is evolving and getting stronger a large cocoon is absorbing energy and feeding off the fears of the patients but the movie skipped over a large chunk of the importance of the cocoon instantly skipping over its origins and why the cocoon has become so large in size so quickly.
The cocoon was just shown as this huge entity rather than what should of been a slowly increasing mass that grew with every fear that was consumed, this was totally looked over and really spoils the whole idea of black and fear incarnates ability to grow after every fear has been consumed.
Other major plotholes include the fact that the characters are not introduced to one another they are just thrown together at the last minute, an experience that Caylee has in the chamber suddenly turns into an unnecessary sex scene, what starts as an argument then jumps to the next scene where they are together again as calm as rain, with no explanation to how they resolved their fight.
As a whole its a great team effort, a wonderful joy to watch and credit due to creating such a professional looking movie on such a low budget. Fear Clinic could be a very promising franchise if it’s faults are remedied.
Convoluted in places but a movie that stands higher than most Horror’s that are being released at the present, a new generation of cerebral Horror. A movie that will make you think rather than spaced out watching the screen, a movie that when finished you’ll rewind to make the jigsaw pieces fit. A very smart movie.
The movie stands alone, some will understand it and some just simply will not but the better this movie does, the more improvements that can be made in its inevitable sequel.