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[Grimmfest Easter] BRING OUT THE FEAR Review – Isolation Brings Out the Worst in People

Woman in a yellow jacket standing alone in the dark woods carrying a blanket and looking back over her shoulder.

Directed and written by Richard Waters, Bring Out The Fear bends reality in its portrait of a toxic relationship. Waters invokes fear in the audience with an anxious and tense atmosphere. An element of paranoid isolation stands, leaving the audience worried about what lurks around every corner.

The film follows Rosie (Ciara Bailey) and Dan (Tad Morari) as they take a hiking trip into the woods to help repair their relationship after Rosie’s affair with Eric (James Devlin). Dan takes Rosie to a beautiful mountaintop view that looks out over the coastline before making the rash decision to propose to her to heal their hardships. Rosie is shocked by this and turns him down quickly, exclaiming that they need to work on their relationship before deciding on marriage. This leads to an argument before Dan throws the ring into the trees. On their way back to the car, they realize that they have been walking in circles. They attempt to backtrack to the mountaintop to gain an understanding of where they are but discover that the view is no longer there. Instead, the forest now stretches for miles, as if they were somewhere entirely different with no hope of finding their way out.

Bring Out The Fear encompasses the tension of being trapped, and this is excellently executed through its actors’ performance. Both Bailey and Morari portray distinct expressions that present how distraught and helpless they feel as they travel through the forest’s endless terrain. More specifically, when high-pitched screaming pierces their ears, the excruciating pain can be seen in their faces as they desperately try to shield themselves from the noise.

Another extraordinarily well-executed element of the film was the close-ups and establishing shots. There are several instances where the couple can be seen driving to their destination in an establishing shot. By using this technique, the audience gets a better understanding of the location in which the majority of the film is set in. The viewer understands how isolated Rosie and Dan are as they drive further into the endless forest, which expertly establishes the film’s tone.

Moreover, many of the emotions expressed by the actors are done in close-ups, establishing the tension. In one particular scene, Rosie and Dan get into another fight after they wake up and notice their stuff is missing. Rosie is infuriated with Dan and storms off to try and find a way out. The camera zooms in on Rosie’s face and blurs Dan in the background, but as it tracks backward, he is gone. The transition shows the fear in Rosie’s eyes as she desperately tries to find a way out as anxiety builds within her.

Bring Out The Fear has many twists that the audience won’t expect and the ending will leave them questioning everything about the film. The dynamic between Dan and Rosie as they fight for their lives, mentally and physically, through the ghastly terrain is a suspenseful experience. The actors are exceptional at capturing the slow descent into madness as their hope begins to fade at the possibility of escaping, providing exhilarating and jaw-dropping moments. These moments were paired well with the score by Steve Nolan. Throughout the film, the swell of the music caused me to jump quite a few times, catching me off guard. Even with the amount of anxiety this film caused, every second was worth it, right up until the end.



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