Monday, 16 April 2018

Fear, Inc (2016)

Fear, Inc is a fun and inventive little comedy horror, light on actual big scares or gore moments but easily making up for it with the sheer entertainment factor of the main premise.

There's a company that you can hire to bring your greatest fears to life. That company is called Fear, Inc. As a treat for Joe (Lucas Neff), a huge horror movie fan, his friends decide to place a call and throw themselves into a real life horror movie scenario. Then they change their minds. Or do they? Are they even able to cancel the plans that have been quicky put in place? What's real and what isn't?

The good thing about Fear, Inc is that it mentions the fact it is very similar to The Game. Paradoxically, the bad thing about Fear, Inc is that it mentions the fact it is very similar to The Game. There's no getting away from the fact that this is a horror riff on that idea, and I appreciate the film-makers being upfront about that, but there's also no getting away from the fact that this doesn't have the resources or smarts to quite match that film. It also doesn't throw in enough references and gags, unless my eyes were deceiving me. If I paid to be thrown into my favourite genre for a life experience then I'd want to be picking up on little details that keep me on edge and make me think of the many horror movies I love.

Director Vincent Masciale, making his feature debut with an expansion of his short, written by Luke Barnett (who also stays on board here), does a decent job of sketching out the plot, making the steps from unease to horror as logical and believable as need be, and allowing the characters to have some fun and appeal to viewers before the tension starts to build. Barnett doesn't excel with the actual characterisations, the cast sell this more than the dialogue, but he does well with the film-related banter.

Neff does fine in the lead role, I can't imagine many horror fans who don't enjoy seeing someone portray a big horror fan onscreen, and the other three main players - Caitlin Stasey, Chris Marquette, and Stephanie Drake - all do well as they joke around and have fun en route to being potential murder victims. There's also a fun small role for the always welcome Richard Riehle.

It gets bonus points for not being just another typical slasher film, and for not just joining the ever-growing hordes of zombie movies and found footage films, but Fear, Inc is an entertaining near-miss rather than an outright home run. Worth your time, worth your support, and probably even worth an occasional rewatch.

6/10

You can buy it here.
Americans can buy an import here.


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