EIFF 2008 Review: Fear(s) of the Dark – (Peur(s) du noir)

24 Jun

Fear(s) of the Dark

Recurring nightmares, bloodthirsty hounds and parasitic girlfriends; just some of the elements featured in a piece that boldly fuses the idiomatic vignettes of five multinational animators working under one title: Fear(s) of the Dark.

More or less an ensemble piece unified by a host of similar thematic threads, the film does exactly as it sets out to do by exploring the shiver inducing world waiting to be encountered after the lights go out and our existence is drained of colour.

On the whole, Fear(s) is an engrossing and often unnerving watch as, in a vein not too dissimilar to the sensory bombardment of Artuad’s Theatre of Cruelty, viewers are repeatedly assaulted with flashes of almost ethereal white light and enough screeching to put a horde of banshees to shame.

As for the films themselves, they successfully meld together for the most part in seamless synchronicity whilst maintaining a sense of stylised individualism. Charles Burns, the graphic novelist responsible for the critically acclaimed Black Hole, heads up one of the longer offerings with a well rounded story of first love turned alien infestation through detailed, line drawings while Lorenzo Mattotti’s rough and ready sketchbook animations boast a more organic quality.

There are one or two more disappointing moments however, one of which being the ramblings of a moany French woman who continuously feels the need to voice her worries monotonously over basic geometric images reminiscent of an 80s BBC Micro screen saver for pre-schoolers.

A thought frightening enough in itself.

Review by Mhairi MacLeod

Fears of the Dark screens again on Friday 27 June at Cineworld – see website for details.

Image courtesy EIFF

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