Rosie (Ciara Bailey) and Dan (Tad Morari) have hit the end of the road with their relationship following a betrayal by one half of the couple. Deciding to close the book on their time together, the couple take a walk in the woods in the hope that they can go their separate ways without things getting ugly. Dan unexpectedly proposes to Rosie, who is shocked by the gesture, and the couple begin to argue until they realise they are lost in the woods and have no idea how to get out.
‘Bring Out The Fear’ is part of Arrow Video FrightFest’s ‘First Blood’ strand and it received its World Premiere at this year’s festival. First-time feature director Richard Waters puts human drama at the centre of his eerie film that explores two people losing one another both emotionally and physically. When they first arrive in the woods together, it doesn’t seem like Rosie and Dan are beyond being able to work out their differences. Things are muted and courteous between them, and Dan clearly believes that they can overcome the hurdle they’ve experienced in their relationship.
The first half of ‘Bring Out The Fear’ is very much a relationship drama. While there are creepy moments, writer/director Waters focuses on establishing his two leads so the audience can relate to them. Of the two, Dan is more sympathetic and at times I found Rosie to just be plain unlikeable. That does change as the film progresses but the audience will most likely warm to Dan the most. Once the couple gets lost, the tension quickly escalates and as Rosie and Dan become more panicked, they get more vicious towards one another about their relationship.
The film really does hang on the shoulders of Ciara Bailey and Tad Morari as Rosie and Dan. Both actors put in very strong performances and you believe them as a couple that has sadly run their course. They bring out the complexities of a relationship that has turned sour, while showing that they do have feelings towards one another regardless of whether it’s the end or not. Some of the scenes are quite tough to watch thanks to how realistic their relationship feels.
When the film leans into its horror side, it stumbles a little bit. Waters builds a fantastic atmosphere and I liked the parallel of Rosie and Dan losing each other (in more ways than one). The film descends into a nightmare as they become more desperate to get out of the woods but I feel that the story doesn’t quite explain things in the way you want it to. What’s going on is left pretty open-ended and I think the film would have benefitted from a bit more closure. It’s always difficult to satisfactorily explain a film where the central premise asks you to go along for the ride but a little more explanation would have been welcome.
‘Bring Out The Fear’, despite my couple of quibbles, is a film that shows Waters’ promise as a film-maker. He knows how to get strong performances from his cast and his script is very impressive too. Waters shows that he’s adept at creating atmosphere, and he certainly plunges you into the middle of a nightmare with this film. I’ll be keen to see what he follows this up with and whilst not a perfect film, ‘Bring Out The Fear’ does enough to hook you in and hold your attention right to the very end.
Cast: Ciara Bailey, Tad Morari, James Devlin, Brian Matthews Murphy Director: Richard Waters Writer: Richard Waters Certificate: 18 Duration: 73 mins Released by: Weird Pretty Pictures