Directed by Robert Hall
Written by Aaron Drane, Robert Hall
Starring Robert Englund, Thomas Dekker, Corey Taylor, Fiona Dourif
95 mins - Horror - Release date: 10 February 2015 (Blu-ray/DVD)
What’s your greatest fear or phobia? If it’s a serial killer with a five-knifed glove in your dreams by the name of Freddy Krueger, then you might not want to check into Dr. Andover’s Fear Clinic. What is the Fear Clinic, besides the title of this Robert Hall flick starring Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street), Thomas Dekker (A Nightmare on Elms Street 2010, Backstrom), Fiona Dourif (Curse of Chucky, True Blood),and Slipknot’s Corey Taylor? Well, it’s where people go to have their fears cured by Dr. Andover (Englund), who puts them inside his fear chamber.
The fear chamber is like a coffin with aesthetics from David Cronenberg’s The Fly. Once inside, patients undergo a sort of joined hypnosis with Andover and he sort of experiences his patients’ fears with them before extracting the phobia. It’s very scientific and far too complex for the space here; you’ll just have to trust in the science.
After years and accolades for curing fear, Andover now goes through near catatonic states from experiencing too many other people’s fears, and not curing his own. Englund is exceptional in his role, which allows him to actually act a bit more than fans are used to seeing. It’s not his best role ever, but it’s up there near the top.
But there’s more to the story; the patients whom he cured years ago are returning to the clinic because they’re having “aftershocks.” Incidentally, all of these patients were involved in a diner shooting. There’s also a black ooze that’s a physical manifestation of fear and causes terrifying hallucinations upon contact.
Fear Clinic is really an excellent horror movie. It’s well shot, well acted, and it has an engaging story, replete with subplots. In many respects it’s an homage to good ‘80s horror, without being derivative. If I was pressed to say that Fear Clinic resembles another movie, I’d have to go with Joel Schumacher’s 1990 movie, Flatliners.
What’s the overall message in Fear Clinic? I’d have to say that it’s about the paralyzing effects that fear can have. If we obsess about what our phobias are, then we give them too much power and eventually they’ll control our actions.
Fear Clinic is exactly what you’re looking for if you want a new horror movie to feel like a classic, if you want it to have similar pacing and tropes. Corey Taylor is surprisingly good (and we should all hope to see more of him in horror in the future), Englund is masterful, and the rest of the cast are true pros. There’s not much wrong with this movie and there’s no reason it shouldn't keep you up at nights.