Title: Fear (Short Film)
Directed by: Steve Kahn
Written by: Steve Kahn
Starring: Jessie Rabieau
Running time: 13 min : 54 sec
The Director of ‘Fear’ describes it as being ‘A poem on the fear cascade’ rather than a traditional plot. And that sentence is a very good representation of the film, because the beginning looks good but on the whole it doesn’t actually mean anything.
The film’s opening is by far its strongest element. On the whole it is a tight, sterile-looking setup that doesn’t waste a second. It’s polished, claustrophobic and just the right amount of creepy, with the Aryan-looking Jessie Rabideau seeming like a great casting choice.
But, after the five minute mark, the camera work loses all the focus that it worked so hard to craft and the plot quickly descends into farce. One of the recurring themes that the Director attempts to incorporate is that of a ‘cascade’; in other words, tiny, constant motions building up to bigger movements. These start out small at first, like blood swirling down a drain, but eventually we get a rubber duck flying around a bathroom, and a perspective shot from a mobile phone.
Also, without seeming pedantic, there a jaw-clenching sequence where Rabideau’s hair goes from wet, to dry, to wet again. Annoying.
Eventually, the plot centre’s around the protagonist’s search for her dog, lost somewhere in her house. The Director takes us out of the sterile environment of the bathroom and into the rest of the house, using tired cinematic tropes as his leading lady. Cue an unexpectedly open door, a lightning storm and a static television that wasn’t turned on before, and ending with the light of a single candle descending the basement stairs.
Overall, in my opinion, this film is very much a case of style over substance; although the opening is promising, and I wanted to like it, I feel that it is hindered by some poor choices in plot, cinematography and a general loss of direction.