Monday, March 8, 2010

Kickass Trailers: "Dread" + review by Jim Kennedy

Clive Barker has had an up and down relationship with Hollywood. Hollywood loves his work, but it is just very hard to bring to the screen. It started in 1987 when he decided to direct the horror classic Hellraiser, which was based on his novel The Hellbound Heart

The franchise has spawned eight sequels (most of which went straight to DVD).  In 1990, Barker directed the film adaptation of his novel Nightbreed and five years later Lord of Illusions, based off of his short story. While none of these films have taken off (besides the classic Hellraiser), Hollywood still loves his stories.

Barker has a book entitled Book of Blood which is a collection of short stories he has written, and in 2008 Hollywood began making them into feature films.  It started with the short story Book of Blood then came Midnight Meat Train then in 2009 director Anthony DiBlasi made Dread, which was then picked up by After Dark Films and added to the 2009 Horrorfest lineup (see the Winter 2010 issue of Tainted Tea for more information).

Dread’s story follows three college students that decide to make a documentary about peoples “dread” for a school project.  The three students, Stephen (Jackson Rathbone), Cheryl (Hanne Steen) and Quaid (Shaun Evans), meet and decide to make the film. It begins with the three being interested in what the people tell them on camera (most of it not “serious” fears minus a few stories), but something begins to be off about Quaid. He seems to be taking it far more seriously than the other two and begins to show psychopathic signs.

There are no spoilers here, it’s obvious there’s something off about Quaid, and DiBlasi doesn’t try to hide it from the audience; he divulges into the character and how he treats the project different from the other two. Shaun Evans, who plays Quaid, is a standout. I’ve never seen him in anything before (at least, don’t think I have), and his performance is just very surreal. 

Jackson Rathbone is also very good in the film. I really don’t know all of his work (not into the Twilight franchise), but I felt he really committed to the role and it came through on the screen.

This film is a very grim. There’s no real dark humor or gag jokes, it’s all very serious and, at times, disturbing.  After I saw seven of the eight films from Horrorfest, this ended up being my favorite one this year. 

Final Grade: A

Dread may be purchased individually or with the entire After Dark Horrorfest 4 series which will be released on DVD Tuesday, March 23.

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