Thursday, February 12, 2015

FEAR CLINIC (2014)

FEAR CLINIC (2014)

Label: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Rating: R

Duration: 95 Minutes
Audio: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles
Video: HD Widescreen (2.40:1)
Cast: Robert Englund, Corey Taylor, Kevin Gage, Felisha Terrell, Thomas Dekker, Fiona Dourif, Brandon Beemer, Angelina Armani
Director: Robert Hall

Robert "Freddy" Krueger appears here as Dr. Andover who runs a fear clinic, the good doc is out to cure extreme phobias in pretty much the same way a lot of folks cure the hiccups, apparently you just gotta scare it out of 'em, the doc this by subjecting his patients to their worst fears. 

He doesn't thrown the arachnophobes into a pit of spiders or anything quite like that, he has developed a fear chamber, which is very much like a sensory deprivation tank which allows them to safely confront their fears while the doc communicated with them through a weird headset, the experience effectively scaring the fear out of them. 

The treatments are a success until one of his patients die while in the chamber which causes him to give up his fear therapy. A few years later several of the victims of a mass shooting that occurred at a restaurant show up at the steps of he clinic suffering what they refer to as "fear aftershocks", each insisting the doc fire up the fear chamber and treat them, which he reluctantly does, but of course terrible things begins to happen shortly afterward. Turns out the treatments have awakened a malevolent force - fear itself - which begins to manifest once the fears begin to flow, growing stronger and stronger. 

The first thing I noticed about the film was the performance of Robert Englund, a man who can elevate  any film, but it's been a while since I've seen him in anything other than the briefest of cameos in the shittiest of movies.  This time out he gives the doc some real pathos and you can feel his anguish as he struggles to cure his patients while fearing that he he may be endangering them, it's a meatier role than the icon has had in awhile, haven't seen Englund in this goof of form since Jack Brooks Monster Slayer

The supporting cast is quite decent, too. We have Thomas Dekker from The Sarah Connor Chronicles TV series as a gunshot victim from the diner massacre, plus the very cute Fiona Dourif (daughter of Brad) from HBO's True Blood,  both of whom are very good. Slipknot's Corey Taylor appears as an orderly at the clinic, it's not significant role but will probably bring in the fans.  We also have Kevin Gage who has appeared in most of director Kevin Hall (Laid to Rest), offering up some comic relief throughout as the electrician. 

The numerous digital effects are not too offensive, with the spiders that pop up probably being the worst offender, but I did enjoy the creature design and digital effects used to enhance it. The oily black tendriled creature looks to be partly inspired by Venom from the Spider-Man comics, the last few sequences with the fully manifested creature are pretty damn cool. 

The science fiction part of it I can skip around, I'm not one to scrutinize movie science, as long as they can pull the wool over my eyes to a degree that I can buy into it that is fine by me, it manages to be not too painfully stupid.  

Director Kevin Hall has had years in the special effects business on dozens of big Hollywood film productions, the guy knows how to make an engaging film and he puts the money up on the screen where you can appreciate it, he definitely made the most of the budget and turned in a great looking film. 

There's not a lot of gore but there are some nice effects and atmosphere throughout but no splatter to speak of. You might wish for more of the more of the red stuff but the topless scene from Angelina Armani does offer some form of reparations for the lack of gore. 

The disc from Anchor Bay looks solid, the digital shot film has strong colors and crisp details with an active surround sound audio track. The only extra is a 12-minute behind-the-scenes featurette with interviews from Robert Englund, Robert Hall, Cleopatra Coleman, Fiona Dourif, Corey Taylor, Brandon Beemer and Thomas Dekker which also points out that this was based on a FEARnet web series which Hall also directed starring Englund. 

Not a classic slice of horror but maybe a decent rental, not a lot of re watch value for me but a decent film with a cool premise that doesn't feel phoned in, plus it's great to see Englund in a decent role with some meat on the bone. Fear Clinic is now available on DVD and the Blu-ray is available exclusively from Best Buy. 

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