Reviews | Written by Martin Unsworth 29/08/2021

BRING OUT THE FEAR [FrightFest 2021]

Rosie (Ciara Bailey) and Dan (Tad Morari) are heading into the country for a lovely walk in the woods. Dan’s got special plans for the day; not only has he warned off the chap that Rosie’s recently had a fling with but he plans to pop the question. Unfortunately, Rosie doesn’t think the time is right for them, which gives the rest of the day a bit of a sour atmosphere. That’s not the only thing that’s going to go wrong, though, as they lose their way through the forest and some very uncanny things begin to happen as though it has a malignant force of its own.

Written and directed by Richard Waters, Bring Out the Fear plays on the fears that many people have: to be lost in a place where there’s apparently no way out. With their senses heightened by the terror of being lost, the forest brings some primal dread to the characters. Each of them are seemingly taunted by the unseen presence the woods permeates. Dan has visions of the man Rosie slept with, threatening them that they will die there while Rosie is haunted by wine bottles, since it’s apparent that she’s given up drinking. Whispers and terrifying noises add to the torment and lead to a dizzyingly nightmarish environment.

Waters mixes a folk horror aesthetic with relationship drama to good effect. Ciara Bailey gives her all as Rosie, especially when she’s separated from her boyfriend. The sound design is particularly unnerving, with dissonant lows overpowering the scenes at times. Bring Out the Fear has plenty going for it, it might not be full of jump scares or gore, but it has a psychological edge that will get into your head.