Be Afraid Review

Be Afraid is a 2017 horror thriller film directed by Drew Gabreski, starring Brian Krause, Jaimi Paige, and Louis Herthum.  After moving to a small town with his family, a man is afflicted by a mysterious sleep paralysis linked to dark beings threatening his young son.


Positives:

  • Good performances
  • Decent soundtrack

Negatives:

  • Lackluster story
  • Lackluster special effects
  • Lackluster script

Plot:  The story follows Dr. John Chambers and his family who arrive at their new home in a town of Pennsylvania.  Not long after, John begins to experience sleep paralysis, experiencing nightmares of other-worldly beings. Witnessing the suicide of a father whose daughter was abducted, these encounters begin to haunt John.  He begins to discover the entities’ sole purpose…to abduct his seven year-old-son.

The movie has some pretty predictable moments.  Ben ends up meeting this girl named Nikki and she invites him out.  They exchange these personal stories and it’s totally cliche.  Can easily see it coming a mile away.  Dean’s suicide was obvious (though I’d hoped that it wouldn’t have happened).  The major climax was alright and the twist at the end is hit-or-miss depending on the viewer. I thought it was pretty good, somewhat giving an explanation of the events. (3 out of 5)

Characters: The family is likable but aren’t really compelling.  John is a good man but he does have these moments where he shrugs things off that are pretty damn obvious. Heather is kind of a horrible mother because she consistently allows her son to run off.  Dean and Christine have definitely garnered sympathy from me especially since the disappearance of their daughter has taken a toll on their marriage.  Would’ve liked to have seen more exposition on them and what they were going through. Hardly enough screen time for Nikki and her family so there wasn’t as strong an attachment.  (3 out of 5)

Cast:  The main cast consist of Jaimi Paige, Brian Krause, Jared Abrahamson, and Michael Leone, and they do a good job.  Krause does manage to give John’s character depth.  Haven’t seen Krause since Charmed.  Never really pictured Grevioux in an emotional role but he does an alright job.  Other performances include Callie Thorne, Michael Chandler, Todd Goble, Eric Chandler, Kevin M. Horton, Sade Kimora Young, Noell Coet, and Louis Herthum. (3 out of 5)

Visuals:  There are some awesome shots of the landscape that are just beautiful.  Some of the editing when it came to the visions/hallucinations honestly did get on my nerves.  Every time a creature appeared there was this weird shaky cam/blurred/unfocused look.  Also, the creature effects are sub-par, looking like men covered in mud, especially the man with the hat while the other looks better but the stupid shots are unfocused. (2 out of 5)

Score:  There are some moments where the music is soft, almost heavenly.  And it does help to give the film a dark tone while emphasizing depth. (3 out of 5)

Writing:  There are some problems with the script. The thrills are done nicely and how often they occur doesn’t seem overly done nor underwhelming.  Gabreski does manage to make the movie interesting.  My biggest problem is that the movie doesn’t really hit the mark.  Sure, it’s great seeing a family get thrown into these types of situations but it doesn’t feel gripping. Would’ve liked to have seen the family more settled in before the creepy stuff started happening.  There are some scenes that could’ve been better or don’t make any sense.

In one scene, Nathan is in the woods by a small pond when he is approached by a man named Dean who’s searching for his daughter.  After warning Nathan, Ben and John show up with a rifle in hand and call the police.  There was no questioning Dean, no deescalation of the situation, not even a warning.  And also, no reason for Ben to even have a rifle.  How that situation went from zero to a hundred is beyond me.

Another point in the movie is when Ben goes to the party to meet with Nikki, and of course, she’s having boyfriend problems.  So, he ends up bumping into Jim who tells him to leave or accept his challenge.  But Ben was already leaving so why the confrontation? Some reason Ben accepts his challenge but why?  It’s obviously a dumbass idea.  Also, there is this sequence where Nikki is looking up child abductions but there is no way in the world she’s lived there her entire life and not know about the abductions. (2 out of 5)


The Verdict:  In the end, Be Afraid leaves a sense of hollowness.  What seems like an interesting premise falls pretty flat as a generic, bland remix of what we’ve seen in films like Deep in the Darkness.  Yeah, there is a good cast with good performances, but film suffers from poor special effects, lackluster story, shaky cam/blurry shots, and a generic script.  Be Afraid gets 3 out of 5.

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