Jared Moshe explores the classic science fiction trope in his latest film, Aporia from Well Go USA. Since losing her husband Mal (Edi Gathegi) in a drunk-driving incident, Sophie (Judy Greer) has struggled to manage crippling grief, a full-time job, and the demands of parenting her devastated teenage daughter (Faithe Herman).
Nothing spooky about Fear The Night
Neil Labute continues diversifying his filmography with his latest feature, Fear the Night from Quiver Distribution. Iraq war veteran Tes (Maggie Q) travels to the California hills for her youngest sister Rose’s (Highdee Kuan) bachelorette party. The sibling’s middle sister Beth (Kat Foster), has a somewhat rocky relationship with Tess, which naturally causes some friction.
Tess and her sister finally arrive at the party with five more friends, and everything appears to get off with a hitch. However, they are soon interrupted by the arrival of masked intruders who surround the place and begin shooting arrows at the home and the guests. Little do the intruders know that in addition to being a combat veteran, Tess is also fighting her addictions, and her difficulty fitting in with other people makes for a mean combination. Tess then decides to lead the women to make a stand against the attackers as they fight back to save themselves throughout the night.
The home invasion trope has always been a favorite sublet of the slasher genre for me. LaBute has an easy enough task with his film focusing on celebrating an upcoming wedding in a setting ripe for horror. Friends gathered in a lonely country house in a celebration that turns into a hunt where no one will be safe practically writes itself. Incorporating horror elements would be ideal, given the setting and characters. The bachelorette party as a central point allows for a heightened sense of suspense and tension to build until it reaches its inevitable climax.
Sadly Fear The Night‘s simple premise receives a weak execution. One of the worst mistakes a film of this type can make is not allowing viewers to care about the characters. Outside of the sisters, the other friends’ only purpose in the movie is to get killed off. Furthermore, the bad guys are underwhelming and come across more as internet bullies than actually menacing.
The poorly balanced script hinders Maggie Q’s potential as an action hero. The script fails to integrate her character’s traumatic history effectively. Instead, it seems like Neil LaBute attempted to write a dramatic film about PTSD but ended up using slash film tropes. As a fan of the film’s director and leading lady, I had expectations for Fear The Night.
I first came across Labute’s works as a teenager with the film Your Friends and Neighbors. Maggie Q’s supporting roles in Mission Impossible III and Live Free or Die Hard franchise films caught my attention. After seeing her starring role in The Protege, I hoped she would get an action franchise. Sadly Fear The Night is a resume blotch for both.
Final Grade: D+
FEAR THE NIGHT is in Theaters, On- Demand, and Digital Today.
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