“I suppose that is the worst part of it all. You live with the notion that the thing that causes you the most terror could come back at any time.”
– Jonathan Shaw
SYNOPSIS: Three college students producing a documentary on the true nature of fear are slowly drawn into a world of nightmares when one member of the group begins exploiting the phobias of his fellow participants in hopes of seeking salvation from his own dark obsession. – via Rotten Tomatoes
So let me be honest, right off the bat. I am petty enough to have decided to check this out, purely for science. Jackson Rathbone. Yes, the selling point for me. However, instead of a mediocre flick with plenty of eye candy, I lucked out. I got to watch delicious for 108 minutes as well as have a really interesting film play out. Could you imagine my score?! I hardly could! Anyway, moving on to the movie itself. Dread starts and you are almost not quite certain what is to happen, and things jump really quickly from Stephen meeting Quaid and them becoming friends. However, that dooms nothing when Quaid seems to have an obsession with fear. His idea for a film thesis could have really bombed – exploring fear, but instead provided us with the base of a pretty darn good B-movie. Things are trundling along slowly, typical regular fears like clowns and spiders and wet tissues (I don’t know), but when Cheryl shares her story, things immediately get deeper and darker. I was not bored for one second of this movie. As it progressed, it got so much more intense. The pacing is slow, but it facilitates making these characters to people we come to know, and gives time to focus on Quaid’s strangeness, watching him devolve into madness, slowly but surely. He seems to take the project way too seriously, and has his own messed up past that flashes up throughout the film. I really liked that they did not throw away everything they were working towards by shoving in Quaid’s greatest fear as an actual character, because that would have been a surefire way to ruin everything. The movie was shot well. There was this one stalking scene that was hunter and prey, and prey is also hunter, and it was just done phenomenally – quiet, deliberate, not leaning on jump scares or anything like that. The dialogue was also not terrible, and the performances were good. Jackson Rathbone is not just pretty, he can act, too. Hanne Steen was just so good as Cheryl, and Shaun Evans deliverer Quaid to us with such finesse. Another something I have to admit, I read this short story by Clive Barker, and I think that the movie tapped into the fear and dread far better than the short story did. A rare occurrence, but the movie provided characters we got to know and cared about, as well as explored the fears and dread of the characters more, which is important, fleshing the story out properly. Overall, Dread was infinitely better than I expected, though it still has some flaws. I can definitely recommend it to anyone that likes a horror with a little more of a solid foundation – a nice little hidden gem!