STALKHER AND FEAR INC.
Film Reviews by Fiore
It’s difficult oft times to discern whether independent film makers are truly filmmakers or wannabe actors. When budget considerations are paramount, it is common for indie filmmakers to accept many roles in completion of the film; but sometimes, a filmmaker takes such a large role that it becomes natural to question the motive.
John Jarratt directs and stars in STALKHER. Since the film is essentially a two-person play on celluloid, Jarratt’s principle concern is divided. He performs well as Jack, but leaves much wanting sitting in the cloth chair.
STALKHER is billed as a comedy; but it is the type of comedy that elicits groans rather than guffaws. Jack is a homicidal stalker. He targets Emily, played by Kaarin Fairfax as his next victim. After breaking into her home, with a bag of operating tools to perform a version of Alfred Hitchcock’s REAR WINDOW, he is overpowered by Emily, armed with a stun gun. Rather than awaking to police, Jack finds himself tied securely to a chair in Emily’s kitchen. This begins a night long dialogue between the two main characters, exploring the relationship between men and women in a Marquis DeSade mien. Eventually, Jack and Emily realize they have a unique relationship, albeit one patterned after Gomez and Morticia Addams.
Kris Maric wrote the script for STALKHER. Since it is primarily dialogue, the interchange between Emily and Jack is crucially timed. In several moments, the transition between topics is uneven and forced. Sporadically, Maric’s script shifts from reality to Emily’s fantasies without segment separation. The technique is used often enough to be infuriating.
Jody Muston incorporates clever camera angles to keep the tempo of STALKHER upbeat. There is a nifty shot of a flying frying pan that is done quite well.
STALKHER is a decent indie film, with all its foibles; however, it would make a much better play.
THE GRADE FOR STALKHER = D
FEAR, INC., on the other hand, commits one of the mortal independent film sins – being too clever with one too many plot reveals.
As horror tales go, FEAR, INC. follows a template seen before. A company, for a hefty price, will recreate horror film scenes as a prank for your friend or loved one. A group of friends opt to inspire a stay-at-home slacker to give up his liberal Clintonesque ways and become more Trump-like by acquiring a job and taking a bit of responsibility. So, they hire FEAR, INC. to give him the fright of his life, but there is much more in the program than anyone bargained for.
The film stars Lucas Neff, Caitlin Stasey, Chris Marquette and Stephanie Drake. The young actors all perform well. If there is a soft spot, it’s Neff who never seems certain if he is playing the disbelieving victim or the knowledgeable game player.
FEAR, INC. is directed by Vincent Masciale, and written by Luke Barnett. Together, they commit the worst possible film foible – attempting to be cleverer than the story deserves. They could have had a decent horror flick, but instead, add one more plot twist, and several more plot reveals than the film needs or can maintain. The final twelve minutes ruin all the preceding action throwing the film into a state of implausibility.
The production rule is always KISS (keep it simple, stupid). Masciale and Barnett do not, and thus, relegate their endeavor to late night SyFy Network scheduling.
THE GRADE FOR FEAR, INC. = D