Fear Pharm (2020)

Dante Yore’s “Fear Pham” is three quarters a really good Halloween horror film, and one quarter an absolutely ridiculous waste o time. It’s a shame because for most of “Fear Pharm,” I was genuinely lost in the engaging concept and entertaining mix of horror and comedy. Yore has a great concept with a narrative that’s mostly smooth and interesting. Yore makes good use of limited scenery while also building entertaining and sympathetic protagonists forced in to an absurd but creepy circumstance.

Bored for Halloween, four college friends take a road trip to an allegedly cursed corn maize that is said to have a terrible past. While there, Melanie wins access to an exclusive MVP corn maize that will grant them a ten thousand dollar prize if they make it to the end within a matter of hours. Little do they know though that they have become targets of a murderous clan of psychos hiding in the maze, and they have their own devious plans.

If you’re wondering why it’s called “Fear Pharm,” then you won’t be wondering during the climax. As a matter of fact, you’ll almost wish that you didn’t know. I wish that Yore did much more with this concept, as he spends a lot more time with the characters than he does on exposition with the psychotic family. Also why do they need the Halloween corn maze façade to complete their operations? Why not something so much more discreet? Why is there an allusion about virgin sacrifices when nothing is made of it? That said, “Fear Pharm” is not a completely irredeemable horror movie as it’s packed with great tension, a great sense of humor, and some decent performances.

Director Yore manages to evoke some great turns from his entire cast, including Tiana Tuttle who is great as the heroine Melanie. There’s also Chris Leary who manages to muster up some decent chortles with his fame starved character Rustin. I couldn’t help but love his he sensationalized everything, no matter how vicious the situations turned. I appreciate the resourceful way that Yore manages to make a solid horror movie within such limited scenery and remotes (Guerilla Filmmaking?). If you look closely in the final scene, a woman (presumably an oblivious shopper) steps out from behind one of the actresses to watch them exchange dialogue and drifts off. Flawed as it may be, “Fear Pharm” is a decent novelty for the Halloween season with some genuinely good slash and stalk scenes, a great atmosphere, and horror villains with potential.