Thursday, March 3, 2016

Ms. Hen reviews FEAR(S) OF THE DARK

Directed by various directors

Ms. Hen chose to watch this because she usually likes French animated films. She didn’t know what to expect before she watched this, but when she sat down to view FEAR(S) OF THE DARK, she fell under its spell.

The animation is quite simple and artistic. Ms. Hen was immediately struck by the high quality of work on the film. The short films were made by different artists about their own deepest fears. The artists are: Blutch, Charles Burns, Romain Slocomb and Marie Calilou, Lorenzo Mattotti, and Richard MacGuire. The anthology is billed as a horror movie, but most of the reviews Ms. Hen read complained that it isn’t scary enough. Ms. Hen is not a fan of scary movies, but she’s a big fan of films that show aspects of art that are unusual. These short films made Ms. Hen think of the type of films that are sometimes on view at contemporary art museums. They have a surreal quality that is perfect for a gloomy night with the wind blowing though the wind chimes.

Six stories intertwine with each other. One of the films is a woman’s voice talking about what she fears the most: she fears everything from the dark to not being liberal enough. The first film is about a man and his vicious hounds that he pushes to attack people.

The second film is about a young man who finds a human-like beetle while walking in the forest, and loses it in under his bed. He moves away to college, and takes his bed with him. He is haunted by the insect, which he believes is still in his bed. One of the strangest films is an anime short about a young girl teased at school, and afterwards, she is being made to dream through her problems. The doctors force her to have nightmares, and she can't escape.

Ms. Hen’s favorite film was the last one, in which a mustached man finds himself in an abandoned house in a blizzard and he looks at someone’s photo album, which has people who are in photos, but appear to be crossed out of the photos, and also a woman’s life. The man gets stuck in the house, and cannot get out.

These short films reminded Ms. Hen of the art of Edward Gorey and the writing of Edgar Allan Poe. They are not contemporary horror stories written to shock people and scare them, such at Steven King, but they are artistic films made to pull the viewer into the artist’s dreams. All the films have a spastic, haunting quality to them.

Ms. Hen enjoyed FEAR(S) OF THE DARK. She would have preferred to watch it during the Halloween season, but she thinks dark movies are good anytime. She gives this film five feathers up.

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