Fears. We all have them, irrational or not. But it’s how we choose to accept a cure that sets the tone for this campy, sometimes nostalgic Indie film directed by Hunter Johnson and co-written by Kevin Sommerfield.
Therapist Dr. Sanders (Charles Chudabala) recruits 6 patients to accompany him on a weekend-long group therapy session to a secluded cabin. The trip also serves as final training for apprentice Zach (Baker Chase Powell), who has just recently conquered his own fear of ghosts. As the group is dropped off, the driver is told not to come back until he’s sent for. This short but effective narrative lets the viewer know that there truly is no escape from facing your fears.
Our cast of crazies gather for healing and over time expose their world of trepidation. Circumstances occur that cause conflict and agony for each patient, forcing each of them to face their terror head on. And as Zach and company discover secret medication developed by Dr. Sanders designed to bring their fear to substance to give them something physical to fight, patients start disappearing and killing themselves leaving behind a mysterious pile of black goop.
Each character has a quality we all can relate to, but I found Helen’s character (Cati Glidewell) the most explosive. Ordered to therapy by the court, she tackles her fear of water by drinking constantly and heckling the other patients. Glidewell’s screen presence stands alone and she is a major asset to the film.
This script has all of the right components to become a classic horror flick (think 1980’s here) but something for me just didn’t reach the finish line. I couldn’t get invested in Dr. Sanders as an authority figure and thought the actor was miscast. I struggled believing he could cure me, let alone prevent me from punching him in the face. But as sweet mentor Dr. Sanders became the psycho crazy Dr. Sanders, I understood why Chudabala was cast and loved his creepy giggling persona.
Most of the film’s cast are also involved in the film’s production lending a sense of comradery. This film isn’t a must see, but is a great flick for those rainy days when you have downtime.
IRRATIONAL FEAR will have its World Premiere at Days of the Dead in Charlotte on May 18th and will also be screening at Days of the Dead in Indianapolis June 22-24.