KNOW FEAR is a small budget work of director Jamison M. LoCascio and Adam Ambrosio, both of whom wear many hats for this film, including editing (the former) and original score and producing (the latter). Obviously, they burned the midnight oils to make this movie, but is it worth the blood, sweat, and tears? Well, let’s take a look at this demonic tale and find out.
The story begins with tragedy as a family is very nearly ripped apart by an unseen, supernatural force. One by one, they are murdered, leaving only the home and whatever evil still resides in its walls.
Cut to the generic “For Sale: Sold” sign on the lawn being removed and the new family moving in. This family also knows grief, as the family begins to heal after a deep loss of a family member. This home is a new start, along with some of the possessions from the previous family, including creepy Chekov mannequins and a mysterious old book.
The family includes a husband (David Alan Basche) and wife (Amy Carlson) combo, their ghost-hunting niece (Mallory Bechtel), and motor-cycle-riding, leather-jacket-wearing nephew (Jack DiFalco)…and, like, the wife’s teaching assistant (Meeya Davis)? Don’t worry, that’s Nancy and she’s practically family.
The shit starts to get real as Wendy the wife begins to show signs of possession and the demon-savvy niece unravels the mystery quickly. Creating a ritual to bring the demon forward to banish it, the group must work together to “see”, “hear”, and “read the language” of the demon. But is it too late for Wendy…or even for themselves?
KNOW FEAR leans heavily on tropes to get the message across but, for the budget being so small, it manages to create some interesting scenes and really terrific effects (kudos to Nicholette Talley). It doesn’t rely on shaky-cam tactics to obscure the lack of budget (looking at you, Willy’s Wonderland), nor the use of digital effects to try to “enhance” a scene (still looking your way, Willy’s). I won’t spoil the ending, but the demon, with the use of strobe and great creature design, does a hell of a lot more with less, and I whole-heartedly appreciate that.
Horror is best in the shadows and works best when there’s confusion slowly propelled into understanding, and the pace that the audience learns along with the characters is crucial. That said, I thought the writing (even with the beginning being a little rough) was clever and well-paced. The characters didn’t screw around with gaslighting the niece with needless skepticism. Hey, I’m a skeptic myself and, if weird shit started happening and people started getting hurt (including myself), I’d throw in the towel and be like, “Yeah, sure, I read demon language now. Great. Let’s do this.”
And this demon didn’t screw around much. Little scratches in the walls and pictures falling down really ramped up quickly, especially after the ritual. He was playing for keeps instead of dicking around with stacking chairs like demons usually love doing.
KNOW FEAR is a short and sweet film that moves quickly and has genuinely good acting scenes. Mallory Bechtel and Meeya Davis legit need their own scream-queen duo movie together. They were both a delight to watch. The music is minimally used but adds to the tension (kudos to co-writer and producer Adam Ambrosio for his music).
Bottom line: KNOW FEAR is short, but comes together neatly and without effort or drudgery on the viewer’s part. The twist was unexpected and makes me really curious about the demon’s beginnings. Sequel material? You bet.
KNOW FEAR will be available on Digital from Terror Films on March 12, 2021.