What’s it About?
A woman struggles with little things that build to mammoth proportions.
Written and Directed by Steve Kahn
“Fear” from writer and director Steve Kahn, is a tight and effective short that is full of mood and ingenuity. Kahn’s film, if not seen as overtly horror, is easily a work of psychological proportions since he deftly explores what the emotion of fear may really be. Kahn propels us into a very off kilter and nightmarish story that is examined by very commendable film techniques.
His main lead actress, the very pretty Jesse Rabideau (who has great eyes), carries the short in it’s entirety and does so, for the most part, with serious intent and equanimity. Her composure, while preparing to take a bath in a sterile looking and very bright bathroom, does not hold up as she begins to experience some strange things. Or are they strange at all? Could she just be the nervous type? Does she react with fear when certain things, that we see as mundane, occur? These are questions that are explored as the short progresses.
Kahn smartly interjects very nifty and calculating things into the 14 minute short. He establishes claustrophobia with the tiny confines of the bathroom. He sets up isolation with his lead by having her home alone, taking a bath, with only her small dog nearby. He cuts in shots of leaky faucets, drains, mirrors and a small black radio to build the suspense.
While Rabideau undresses and begins to bath and shave her legs, Kahn begins his manipulations and causes her to begin to show and express fear, doubt and uncertainty. He manuevers around the bathroom using cues right out of a Hitchcock film (Psycho being the one we immediately think of), Rabideau herself, is reminiscent of the ill fated Marion Crane. A curtain, a woman un-dressing, blood going down a drain and even facial close up’s of our lead actress all are made alarmingly and convincingly substantial.
Well, things escalate and Rabideau finds herself suffering from a very spooky time trying to take a bath. Even as Tears for Fears’ reverential song, “Pale Shelter” plays on her radio, it is apparent that she is very uncomfortable with the situation, yet nothing apparently manifests itself. Even as she looks into the mirror (as this point we hear bits of the opening overture of Kubrick’s “The Shining”), we expect to see something that will frighten us. But for Kahn’s film, it is what we do not see and how our protagonist reacts to that. As she tries to bath she still sees and hears things like radio static and whispering. (gotta gives kudos to playing “Hurricane” from MS MR, too)
Kahn frenetically wraps up the short as Rabideau ventures outside the bathroom into a house that is right out of a nightmare. It is dark and only lit up by sporadic bursts of lightning. Here, Kahn puts Rabideau through her paces as she crawls in utter despair around the light deprived dwelling. The short continues to explore what this all means by not handing us a play by play breakdown but by leaving all of these things to our imagination. Is she alone in the house? Is she hallucinating? Why is she so terrified?
Rabideau, who falls a bit flat with some line delivery, still shows us how well she can emote and express fear. Kahn handles everything in the short with commendable capability and when the lines blur he shows us that not everything can be explained and wrapped up tidily.
“Fear” is an impressive short with big ideas and it is slick looking and edited with the the right running length to tell it’s simple story about one woman’s night of manifesting that raw and primal emotion that is always within our psyche: Fear.
Enjoy the Trailer Below!
TEARS for FEARS / PALE SHELTER
MS MR / HURRICANE