Richard Waters (director)
03 January 2023 (released)
03 January 2023
A terrified, bloodied man in a forest, looking as if he is praying hears a roar, turns and then the camera cuts away. To be honest this is not the most original of openings but crucially not an indication of Bring Out the Fear’s story.
Set in rural Ireland, couple Rosie (Ciara Bailey) and Dan (Tad Morari) are set on getting their relationship back on track by camping in a forest. Rosie is a recovering alcoholic who had a fling, while Dan is prone to poor decision making. Such as deciding to propose to Rosie while they are still patching things up.
He’s rejected and flings the ring away, only to find it again later on as the couple begin to realise the forest is not what it seems, appearing to be never ending while twisting their perspectives.
Whispers and noises that only Rosie can hear along with strange heads carved in branches, begin to play on the couple. As they try to get out their frustrations grow with the environment and each other, so past problems are dredged up. And it also appears that they are being toyed with, when along with the ring, bottles of wine appear to tempt Rosie. Then Dan disappears.
Writer and director Richard Waters sets the story in daylight, though its dense forest setting neuters the natural light, for the entire film. With no shadows or night to manipulate Waters relies and a brilliant sound-design and score by Steve Nolan to build tension.
The palpable strangeness of the location is developed early on in the film as the couple are established and begin to wander and talk. Beautifully photographed the forest has a distinct malign atmosphere that unsettles the viewer as much as the protagonists.
Apart from a short scene where Dan confronts Rosie’s one-night-stand, its down to Bailey and Morari to lead the story, and they are excellent. Sympathies tend to fall towards Rosie, in particular in the latter stages when Dan loses it. Though Rosie with her booze problem cannot be allowed to get away scot-free.
There’s little in the way of visceral horror with the film working on a psychological level, prying into the characters of two people who may have had a spark years ago, which took them so far but never worked hard enough to properly combust.
Bring Out The Fear is available now on streaming services.