Fear Key Art

FEAR (2021) Review

FEAR, the debut film from writer/directors Geoff Reisner and Jason Tobias, is pitched as a post-apocalyptic action film. When it was released in the UK as Forget Everything And Run (aka F.E.A.R.) it was positioned as a zombie film with the tagline “They Won’t Stay Dead”. Which one is more accurate? Unfortunately, neither of them is.

A text crawl with voiceover informs us that a pandemic has resulted in a large section of the Pacific Northwest being walled off by the government. The survivors trapped on the wrong side of it are left struggling to survive.

FEAR Ethan Joe Pulling

Among those survivors are Josephine ‘Joe’ Allister (Marci Miller, Days of Our Lives, Death Race 2050), her husband Ethan (Jason Tobias, Downrange, Most Likely to Die) and their kids Josh (Danny Ruiz, Mighty Oak) and Mia (Cece Kelly, Through the Glass Darkly, Big Freaking Rat). Mia is infected and hooked up to an improvised life support system. While her parents search for a cure. Apparently, there is one, but it’s hard to come by and has as good a chance of killing you as it does of curing you.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, a group of scavengers led by Desiree (Susan Moore Harmon) lay siege to their hideout. A chain of events forces the two sides to work together, but can Desiree and her brother Lincoln (Justin Dray, Ad Astra) be trusted?

FEAR Ethan Kitchen Shottie2

FEAR opens promisingly enough with Ethan trying to teach Josh how to take out a zombie. Unfortunately, the boy’s fear gets the best of him and things get out of hand. Equally, unfortunately, that’s pretty much the last time you see zombies until the last few minutes of the film. We then get a half hour of talk and flashbacks to better times before the bad guys show up, and we get about five minutes of gun play.

If you’re getting the idea that FEAR is another low-budget film that’s long on talk and short on action like Creature in the Dark and Impact Event you’re right. Despite any number of potentially interesting angles besides the zombies such as a captured military member and cannibalism among Desiree’s gang, FEAR is content to stick to having its characters spend most of the time jawing at each other. And it isn’t even an interesting dialogue. The highlight is Joe getting to use Ripley’s “Get away from her, you bitch” line.

FEAR Ethan Arrow

What we do get is a load of what sounds like COVID conspiracy theories. The pandemic is man-made, the lack of help for the unaffected is intentional, there’s a plot to cover up what’s going on, etc. If your beliefs run that way, FEAR might work for you, but it left me unimpressed. Maybe if FEAR had been marketed more accurately, as a drama set against a zombie outbreak like The Battery, it might not have felt so disappointing. The performances are all good, even if the dialogue leaves something to be desired. But as it stands, anyone watching it for either action or scares is going to feel cheated.

Devilworks will launch its new distribution arm, New Era Entertainment, with the release of FEAR on DVD and Digital on June 15th. You can check the Devilworks Facebook page for more information.

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