F.E.A.R. (2021) 

As the world seems to be slipping into an apocalyptic scenario, a couple takes their kids and runs to try and save their lives. Under attack from something seemingly biological as well as desperate people, they try their best to stay alive. 

Written and directed by Geoff Reisner and Jason Tobias, F.E.A.R. (which stands for Forget Everything And Run) is thriller-drama that takes well-known and often used situations and imbues them with just that much more to make them something more entertaining than the rest of the endless stream of survival/post-apo films that seems to be coming out this year. Of course, this year is possibly the best timing in terms of history to release these and they have been coming out in high numbers for a few years even, but while so many of them all look and feel the same, this one is different. In a way, it may simply be how it connects with the viewer that sets it apart. There is a quality in how the film is written, how the characters are created, and how everything is directed that sets it above the rest of the subgenres it belongs in. The story is a bit slow, but it’s a needed element here so that things get become a sort of normal before they hit the fan. There’s a flow to the film and the story that makes it both easy to follow and an interesting watch. 

Leading the cast as the parents in this situation are Marci Miller and Jason Tobias. Miller is amazing here, her work is on point with just the right amounts of emotions and nuances, she gives the performance that takes this film from basic to something much more complex. The whole film feels like it’s hers after just a few scenes and she really carries it. Tobias also does well, but without spoiling anything, she is the lead here and she takes the film where it needs to go. Playing Desiree, a foe of Miller’s Joe, is Susan Moore Harmon who makes her character someone you wouldn’t want to meet alone in the woods, but also a character that has motivations that can, and will for some, make the viewer understand what she is doing and why. She’s a bit of a badass here and shows another side of a bad situation where many are left to their own devices and to take care of their own without outside help. 

A big part of the film here is how it looks. The style of the images and the way everything is lit and framed brings it home in terms of mood and atmosphere, adding to the emotions of the character, letting their interactions speak loud and clear while also keeping things visible. This be a small gripe for some, but if the images aren’t clear and the editing isn’t on point, a film can become a mess quickly. Here, the cinematography by Jimmy Matlosz and the editing by Christie Fall manage to get the story across, letting it and the characters do the talking while adding atmosphere and highlighting the emotions at play. There is a fine line between doing well and failing at this and they know exactly how to do this. 

F.E.A.R. is an effectively emotional story that packs a punch while not neglecting the fact that most people in a situation like the one at hand would lose their mind. It’s built like a drama with touches of action and yet it feels like horror and not just because of the biological aspect of everything. There is something here that most will identify with, giving every viewer something to fear as they watch these people try and survive.