Filmed as MORTY (after its chief agent of menace), THE FEAR is a long-winded but ultimately satisfying exercise in chills.
Psychology student Richard (Eddie Bowz), who has been troubled by scary dreams relating to his childhood, gets approval from his professor, Dr. Arnold (Wes Craven), to hold an encounter session/retreat at his boyhood home in the nearby woods. He brings his girlfriend Ashley (Heather Medway) and a
group of other troubled students to the house, where they discover a carved wooden figure nicknamed Morty in a cabinet. Richard encourages the participants to reveal their deepest fears to Morty as part of their therapy. Richard's uncle Pete (Vince Edwards) shows up unexpectedly, and the group
takes a break to visit a closed amusement park nearby. Soon the group members begin to fall victim to the things they each fear most, with Morty apparently the agent of their deaths; he eventually comes to life to attack them. In the midst of the mayhem, Richard comes to realize that his dreams
are connected to guilt over having discovered his mother having an affair and telling his father, who killed her. Richard also discovers that Pete was his mother's lover, and Morty shoots Pete before taking off after Richard and Ashley. But by confronting and overcoming the fears that have been
plaguing him, Richard is able to fend Morty off, and the wooden man walks into a lake and vanishes.
THE FEAR is refreshingly straight-faced for a modern low-budget horror film, though it borders on taking itself too seriously. While the young cast is good, their characters spend too much time declaiming their problems and dealing with their individual angsts, and the story takes its time getting
up to speed. There are also some questionable psychological gimmicks in Ron Ford's screenplay, such as the word "diametric" being spoken repeatedly by masked figures in Richard's dream because it's an anagram of "matricide."
Once the horrors begin however, director Vincent Robert is able to pour on the atmosphere, with fine, shadowy photography by Bernd Heinl. Morty's evolution from inanimate totem to ambulatory menace is handled well, with convincing makeup effects by John Carl Buechler, and the fates of the various
characters evoke the necessary chills. The soundtrack of rap and reggae manages to be incongruous and effective at the same time, and horror fans will get an extra kick from veteran genre director Craven's low-key appearance as Dr. Arnold in the film's opening and closing scenes .(Violence,nudity, sexual situations, profanity.)
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- Released: 1995
- Rating: R
- Review: Filmed as MORTY (after its chief agent of menace), THE FEAR is a long-winded but ultimately satisfying exercise in chills. Psychology student Richard (Eddie Bowz), who has been troubled by scary dreams relating to his childhood, gets approval from his pro… (more)