Know Fear (2021) Review

How come in movies when a family moves into a new home, it’s full of cool stuff? Dolls, antiques, books full of demonic incantations, stuff like that? The only thing I ever found in a new place was a mattress with some suspicious stains. In Know Fear, the lucky family not only gets the demonic book, but they also get the demon as an added bonus.

Donald (David Alan Basche, War of the Worlds) and his wife Wendy (Amy Carlson, Anamorph) move into a new house. Once, they probably picked up cheap due to the previous owners being killed by a demon in the film’s prologue. Their nephew Charlie (Jack DiFalco, Silo) and niece Jami (Mallory Bechtel, Hereditary) are helping out when Jami gets locked in a room whose door doesn’t have a lock. Since she’s an aspiring YouTube ghost hunter, this excites her as much as it scares her. She’s about to get a lot more to be excited about as Wendy cuts her hand and bleeds onto the book we saw the previous owners using.

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Know Fear doesn’t waste any time getting the ball rolling. By fifteen minutes into its seventy-seven-minute runtime, the demon has made his presence known and Wendy is acting strange. Being a low-budget film, this takes the form of strange noises, photos falling off the wall, and Wendy chanting in what sounds like Latin. But when she decides to cook her hand along with the ground beef, it’s obvious something is very wrong.

The work was heavily inspired by cosmic horror writers like HP Lovecraft and films like “Evil Dead,” “Halloween,” “Hellraiser,” and “The Conjuring.” Our goal was to pay homage to the kinds of horror films we love and passionately create our own space in the genre for something new.

Jamison M. LoCascio

Much of the first half of Know Fear will feel familiar to anyone who’s seen more than a couple of demonic films. The cast however does a convincing job of selling the material and keeping it interesting. Then shortly after the house traps everyone, including Nancy (Meeya Davis), Wendy’s teaching assistant inside, director Jamison M. LoCascio (The Depths) and co-writer Adam Ambrosio (Star Wars: Battle Royale) deliver Know Fear’s twist.

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The book has the ritual to banish the demon, but first, it has to be identified. In a reverse of “See No Evil. Hear No Evil. Speak No Evil.” one person gets the ability to see the demon, one to hear it, and one to read its language. The reasoning for this is it would make it harder for the demon to overwhelm the person. However, it doesn’t seem to have much of a problem messing with everyone in Know Fear. And at the same time, it makes it harder for them to get a sense of what they’re dealing with.

There aren’t a lot of effects on display, the bloodshed is simple and basic, but with some well-chosen sound effects to make it seem a lot worse. We only see a couple of glimpses of the demon until the end. LoCascio makes good use of practical effects and lighting rather than resorting to CGI.

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Another thing Know Fear has going for it is its characters. They’re not overly complex, but they are likeable, even the one you think is going to be an asshole. Too many recent films are full of obnoxious jerks you want to see die. Having characters I wanted to see survive was a nice change.

It might not be anything radically different from other films in its genre, but Know Fear is a cut above similar recent efforts like Ghost Light and Bring Me a Dream. Know Fear will premiere on digital March 12th from Terror Films, you can check the film’s Facebook page for more details.

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