Dread [Celluloid Hero]
Indie horror movies, much like indie comedies, are hugely hit-or-miss. Some indie horror movies are amazing because they have freedom to do whatever they want. They can push boundaries and pull off stuff mainstream movies wouldn’t allow. On the flip, they can suffer from the lack of experience of the director/actors/crew.
“Dread” starts off somewhat slow, but does a good job to build each of the main characters. We meet Stephen, a shy college film student. After a class, he meets the “mysterious troubled guy” Quaid. There are some cliches built into both characters, and the actors aren’t the best, but we still get enough detail to keep interest.
Quaid wants to team up with Stephen to do a thesis study on the nature of fear. Not just being scared of snakes or clowns or the dark, but the true deep dark fears that we suffer from. Quaid wants primal fear, psychological damage, true trauma. As the project goes further, Quaid becomes unhinged but the rest of the group tries to calm him rather than just bail.
The slow start leads to a frenetic ending. Even with a faster pace, a few fake endings and twists, and a lot of gruesome imagery, the ending felt anticlimactic. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what left me unfulfilled, but something just disappointed me.
If “Dread” had been done by a more experienced director, or starred more experienced actors, it might have been able to achieve something better than what it was. Despite that, I think having a young unknown crew allowed them the freedom to go where they wanted, even if it didn’t always work.
On the [Celluloid Hero] scale, “Dread” gets a 5 out of 10.