“Boring and average at best!”
When a group of people with crippling phobias brought on by a shared tragedy seek the help of Dr Andover (Robert Englund), he attempts to relieve their problems by isolating them inside his ‘fear chamber’, where they are forced to face their fears during nightmarish hallucinations. It seems, however, that these fears have found a way to follow them outside of the chamber, and into the real world.
It has to be said that on paper, Fear Clinic appears to have enough going for it to be intriguing at the very least. Starring horror icon Robert Englund and, much like with the movies that made Englund’s name, having a main narrative that revolves around people who are made to confront their deepest fears while in a dream state, it seems to have the ingredients to make it a cool budget flick. The sad reality, though, is that the end product really is not that great. While Englund is solid enough as the conflicted Dr Andover, the remaining cast (including appearances by Fiona Douriff, the daughter of character actor Brad Douriff, and frontman of US metal band Slipknot, Corey Taylor) are often found wanting as they battle against a clunky script while overwrought camerawork desperately tries to hide the fact that not a great deal is actually happening, and any attempt at scares are all but devoid of anything beyond the clichéd use of sudden crashes and bangs.
There are the odd moments to be had here and there however. The character of Paige, who slowly transforms as she finds herself trapped inside the ‘fear world’, in particular acts as a much needed, albeit underused, device. The practical effects are handled well, too, ably created as they are by the sure hands of Robert Kurtzman and Steve Johnson – but again these are underused and in the end they are simply overshadowed by the rising tide of gradually worsening, naff budget CGI nonsense.
It’s a shame really because had it lived up to its promise, Fear Clinic could have been a decent budget horror flick, but instead it has ended up as a film that is often boring and average at best, even for something that is on the straight-to-video market.
Director: Robert Hall
Starring: Robert Englund, Fiona Douriff
UK DVD Release date: 30 March 2015
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