Reviewed by: Ryan Doom
and Hanne Steen
What's it about
A group of students decides to conduct a study about fear, only to see one of them take it a bit too far.
Is it good movie?
Dread is a hard movie not to like. Itís got about everything fans can ask for. Gore, suspense, good characters, nudity. Whatís not to like? Add the name Clive Barker (the movie is based on his short story) to the film, and suddenly creditability skyrockets. As a part of the 8 Films to Die For: After Dark Horrorfest 4, Dread is yet another great entry that proves that the series rises above standard issue expectations. Like most of this series, this film doesnít play it safe nor worry about what mainstream horror has become (which is mostly crap). Now allow me to pause momentarily. Dread is far from a perfect movie, however, Iím in a good mood. Donít feel like bitching.
Since Iím so damn positive, what I liked most about Dread is that itís characters are deep, scary, and dark. See, thereís three students with different capabilities who band together to conduct experiments where they interview people and ask them about their fears. While the interviewees are clearly messed up, itís the three interviewers who have real trouble. It becomes obvious that everyone has something to hide (well, expect one girl with a massive birthmark, but I didnít even realize thatís what it was supposed to be. I figured she was emo and painted herself up: Bad makeup). Watching to see who can overcome their fears and who canít is what makes the film.
If Dread feels a little familiar, well, the idea of studying fear isnít anything new. As a Batman fan (yeah, Iím a nerd) I couldnít help but think Scarecrow. I realize his origin isnít exactly well known and it isnít anything close to the students here, but this obsession with causing fear, to getting to root cause of the problem and exploiting it is exactly what Professor Crane does. Likewise, I couldnít help but think Flatliners. Again, different overall plot and characters, but in that movie (a good one too if youíve never seen) students push the envelope of death. Push the reality that is fear. And that idea, no matter the decade, is something always worth exploring.
Without ruining anything, the movie has a great, tight finale. Iíll just say it plays against the usual genre expectations and strives to do something more. Done.
Video / Audio
Video: A Widescreen presentation.
Audio: Presented with the power of 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround.
Facing the Fear: A 12-minute behind the scenes with some good interviews and insights.
A Convo with Clive Barker and writer/director Anthony DiBlasi: About 20-minutes with Barker and DiBlasi talking and discussing. Two things: One, Barker looks like heís ready to explode or has to drop off some kids at the pool. It's uncomfortable. Two, DiBlasi wears a shirt thatís blurred out. That crap drives me nuts.
Deleted Scenes: They are deleted scenes. Cut stuff. Some good, some, eh, forgettable.
Not perfect, but a great thriller with some good twists, characters, and gore. Everything a growing boy needs.