DREAD

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Dread
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DREAD - 2010
USA Release: Jan. 29, 2010
Matador Pictures, Midnight Picture Show, Seraphim Films, Cinema Three, Entertainment Motion Pictures (E-MOTION), Regent Capital, Motion Investment Group
Rated: USA: R

In a college town some students have their semester projects to do.

Stephen Grace (Jackson Rathbone: TWILIGHT [all], S. DARKO) is friends with Abby (Laura Donnelly: INSATIABLE), an otherwise beautiful young woman who is painfully shy about her portwine birthmark which covers about half of her body, and as we later learn, about half of her face. In a bar one night, he is met by the snide and talkative Quaid (Shaun Evans: GONE). They shmoke, they schmooze, and because Quaid is older and can help fund their project, he convinces Stephen to work on a psychological research project about dread.

We know that Quaid is Nightmare guy and has his own fears. Yet Quaid scoffs at the fear of others. He's looking for more than fear. He wants to know what people dread. Because fear comes and goes, but dread is a constant consuming kind of fear, er... thing.

So you think this is really going somewhere, right? It's based on a short story by Clive Barker from THE BOOKS OF BLOOD - and is one of Clive Barker's non-dark fantastic stories. Clive had a decent story and an unexpected nearly great ending with his Dread.

DREAD the movie, however, is yet another After Dark Films presentation that dry humps the last dregs of SAW and has a SAW ending - only without the impact. The botched graft between a Clive Barker story and an aging movie franchise doesn't work. There are long stretches of tedium and, because I saw this at a screening with other reviewers, I noticed several leaving halfway through the movie (it was that bad!).

A few even had to be woke up when the lights came on (it was that bad!).

The stunning point of DREAD is that everyone has their innermost fears and this is presented, by Quaid, as if it's supposed to be a brilliant insight into human nature (people have personal fears? The Shit you say?). Even Quaid has a very specific fear and how he miraculously survived it (which is developed into the Big Question in the movie) and why it twisted him into a manipulative, hurtful, hateful, instigating jerk is never made clear (we don't need no steenking motivations!).

The whole movie turns around Quaid and his seemingly endless charm which holds or endears others to him, to be abused at his whim. Whatever onscreen chemistry Quaid is supposed to have, Shaun never brings it. Quaid is a charmless manipulative prick and the two main protagonists both know this upfront. So what the hell?

Quaid darkly threatens everyone, black mails everyone, and none of it makes sense (we don't need no steenking character development!).

The worst outcome from any of Quaid's threats to "tell" would be, at worst, a stern lecture from some authority figure. As Quaid gets worse, I kept wondering why any of these people he is controlling, all of whom seem otherwise reasonably level, didn't simply gut-punch him.

Why in the hell do they routinely accept his apologies when he goes flipping out on people?

Then he starts blackmailing people for accepting his bad behavior (I don't care if I go down, if I can bring you down with me!) and they even accept that (we don't need no steenking believable actions!).

Oh, and Quaid can also get women to invite him to their bed simply because he is ready, at that moment, to have sex with them (we don't need no steenking ... ah, forget it!). It's dumbfoundingly unbelievable, but I guess screenwriter and Director Anthony DiBlasi thought he needed the tit shot. Apparently the distributor didn't come through for it though.

In the recovering addiction mindset of brain damaged Hollywood, anyone who has survived a trauma is, by default, an incurable, homicidal maniac blessed with immortality and super powers of survival (what the hell are they teaching them at the Betty Ford clinic?). DREAD is also part of that new type of flopping Horror movie that doesn't sell where, instead of having an ending, someone just puts the yawnfest out of its misery and rolls end credits. It'd be nice if it at least had the saving grace of being experimental, but DiBlasi wanted to shoehorn in way too many half-assed modern Hollywood Horror memes (well, they gotta go somewhere).

Anthony DiBlasi is no stranger to making clunky Clive Barker movies. He also produced or executive produced (or both) Clive Barker's THE PLAGUE (based on nothing Clive Barker ever wrote), Clive Barker's MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN (from THE BOOKS OF BLOOD), and Clive Barker's BOOKS OF BLOOD (from THE BOOKS OF ...well, yeah), which was largely based JUST on the freaking PROLOGUE of the god damn book! Sheesh! He might be one hell of a nice guy in person, but his movies, BLECH!

If you need to sleep, don't risk your kidneys or liver to body shots of Nyquil, just watch a DiBlasi movie.

One Shriek Girl.

Shriek Girls
This review copyright 2009 E.C.McMullen Jr.

DREAD
DVD STREAMING
Dread (2009) on IMDb

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