Fear(s) of the Dark (2007)

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Fear(s) of the Dark Review

Fear(s) of the Dark is a 2007 French animated anthology horror film directed by several notable comic-book designers.

The movie contains five stories (or four depending on how you look at one of them) connected by the common subject of fear. The first story is about a young man interested in insects who after meeting a promiscuous woman starts to have nightmares and horrific things happening regarding her. This is probably the best segment as it is not only visually stunning, but also very engaging and somewhat creepy. It is also incredibly original in its plot and it has that sinister feel present throughout the whole thing.

The second segment is about a Japanese girl who is in hospital receiving treatment for her nightmares in which she is bullied by her classmates and a samurai. This part is also very good mostly thanks to its incredible animation style and very creepy and authentic imagery. The story is not as original as the first one, but it is executed in a great way thanks to that superb imagery, creepy feel and beautiful style.

Unfortunately, it all goes downhill after the first two segments with parts three and four being incredibly tedious and never as interesting. The third segment is about a crocodile beast and a boy being haunted by his friend’s death whereas the fourth is about a paranoid man in a dark house dealing with his fears. Those segments of course once again have terrific animation, but they are sadly not involving and never as creepy or as entertaining as they should have been.

As for the fifth story, I honestly would not call this one a segment as it repeats and presents itself between each and every segment so I would call it the connecting piece. It is about an old man unleashing his vicious dogs on the victims and it is of course repetitive and slight stuff, but is visually appealing and quite dramatic and horrific in style.

The character development here is so-so but is not needed, whereas the dialogue is solid but lasts for too long during the intervals. The acting is quite solid and the film is very well directed and deftly edited and paced.

The imagery in this movie is very creepy, authentic and memorable. It is, along with the animation, the best aspect of the film. And the originality is great and of course the imagination is present during some of the segments. And I have to mention the score as it is very good and always fitting with every theme of the story.

The animation is breathtakingly beautiful here. From hand-drawn, anime to 2D and 3D computer animation, the styles vary from segment to segment due to different directors working on them and they are the highlights because each and every style is superb to behold.  I especially was pleasantly surprised by the anime style of the second segment because it was quite unexpected for a French film, but they incorporated it into the setting also with great character design and music. I wished to see some stop-motion love as well, but that is the only style not included here. However, all of the others are included and that is a fantastic feat.

It is very uneven in terms of quality with the second half being quite weak, not particularly engaging and forgettable, but the first half with the first two segments is terrific with original and authentic stories and very creepy and memorable imagery. However, Fear(s) of the Dark, although very flawed, is mostly memorable for the impressive and beautiful animation with many directors each giving his contribution with his own style ranging from hand-drawn to anime to computer animation. Its second half is weak, but it largely benefits from deft editing, great directing and wonderful animation styles making it a very interesting experience.

My Rating 3,5

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