(Peurs du Noir)
DVD Review by Kam Williams
Headline: Animated Feature Exploring Everyday Phobias Available on DVD
In 2007, a French film named Paris, je t’aime proved that 20 directors (including the Coen Brothers, Wes Craven, Gus Van Sant and Alfonso Cuaron) could successfully collaborate on one movie. That picture was comprised of 18 independently-produced, loosely-linked five minute-long shorts, each of which related a brief tale set somewhere in the City of Paris.
Here, 10 graphic artists have pooled their talents to make an animated feature highlighting a variety of everyday phobias ranging from a fear of spiders to dogs to an empty house to things that go bump in the night. Fears of the Dark, also coming courtesy of France, is not a cartoon aimed at kids, but rather a half-dozen relatively-sophisticated vignettes for grownups, as it includes a little nudity, sexuality, bestiality and other adult-oriented fare.
Shot in stark black & white, the movie makes effective use of shadows and angles to add to the overall impending sense of dread. The stories ostensibly reflect the worst nightmares of their creators (Charles Burns, Marie Caillou, Romain Slocombe, Richard McGuire, Michel Pirus, Blutch, Lorenzo Mattotti, Jerry Kramsky, Pierre di Sciullo and artistic director Etienne Robial), whose efforts add up to an innovative flick which figures to delight fans of the genre rather easily.
An arresting array of chilling images worth a watch for its scary visual effects alone.
Excellent (3.5 stars)
In French with subtitles.
In black & white
Running time: 80 minutes
Studio: IFC Films
DVD Extras: U.S. trailer, French teaser, exhibition tour of Fears in the Dark, “From the Drawing to the Film,” a diaporama of working documents, and winners videos of the Fears in the Dark MySpace contest