REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS AND MADNESS! YOU'VE BEEN WARNED!
Today I got around to watching Phobia, a film by Quiet Box Productions. I found the trailer rather intriguing, and I really do love stories about people's decent into mental illness. Prefect viewing material for the holiday season, don't you think?
*kicks a door that rattles behind her* Hey! I told you to keep it down in there Sweeney! Your singing is driving me batty! I'm trying to do a review! Demons, I tell yeah...
*coughs* What was I saying again? Right, I like movies about crazy people!
Phobia is a strange movie, with some very interesting themes and scenes. There is some stuff to it I found rather jarring or didn't like, like the whimsical sounding song choice for the beginning and end credits. It just sounded too upbeat for such a dark film with subject matter like mental illness. But maybe that's the point. Sometimes things don't make sense when your crazy. There were a few other problems I had with the film but I will get to those soon.
For the most part, I enjoyed it. The story is of a grieving man with agoraphobia who has been trapped in house for over a year, and slowly, things go from bad to worse. He's on some heavy duty medications, so it's no wonder that the guy slowly slips into hallucinations and other weirdness. Not many folks visit him either. He has his doctor come and check on him, a friend named Taylor, and a lady who is paid to bring him his groceries, Bree. Other folks that show up are just delusions in his head. At points he thinks he sees a spooky wraith of a woman (who grows spider legs out of her back at one point), a strange man with veins all over his body and his dead wife, who comes in many forms. One covered in blood with scars from her autopsy.
What I was really impressed with was the camera work and acting. Johnathan, played by Michael Jefferson, is brilliant and steals the show. Of course the main focus is on him, seeing as he is trapped in his head and inside his house, but still. The guy has acting chops. He convinced me he was suffering, and I am a recovering agoraphobic. After my mother's suicide in 2002, I locked myself away for a year or so. When you are agoraphobic, you think the only safe place is inside because you can control the inside world. Johnathan captured that pretty well I'd say, but his mental illness goes beyond that. He starts seeing shit, doing weird shit, the whole bit. I loved his character, and he really makes this story work.
Some of the shots and scenes in the movie are actually really well done too. Others, seemed like they dragged too long, but still were framed beautifully. The use of shadows and lighting really made things feel confined at times and stuffy, which helped add to the atmosphere. Sadly I don't think the poster actually represents what this film is about, as there is only one scene that has anything to do with spiders in it and looks nothing like this. And some of the scenes were really slow. They could have been cut down or taken out completely and the film would be great. While I wouldn't say this film was prefect, as I found the ending a little heavy handed (not on Johnathan's part, but after...You'll see if you watch it), I do think overall it was a pretty solid film. This is the first feature film of Director Rory Abel.
Give Phobia a shot, but just remember, we all die.