Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Rundown of the 13 Best Horror Movies I’ve Seen in the Past Year
[10 of 13]

(July 2009)

Of the 3 recent Clive Barker film adaptations (the other two being The Midnight Meat Train and Book of Blood; reviews shambling about in the Archive), Anthony DiBlasi’s Dread is the one that can arguably be said to be even better than the source material, and considering the original is a Barker short story, that’s saying quite a lot.
What DiBlasi does here, is to personalize the phobias established in the original Books of Blood short story; fears are grounded in very specific childhood traumas. For example, in the film, we are made privy to the root cause of Cheryl Fromm’s vegetarianism (which, if you’ve read the short story, you’ll know is the crux of the powerful set piece that lies at the diseased heart of “Dread”).

There’re also some trade-offs (protagonist Stephen Grace-- played by Jackson Rathbone-- gets a new fear, while his phobia from the short story is fobbed off to another character), as well as a couple of new characters, setting up the film’s grim third act, which looks vastly different from the short story’s climax. It’s a darker, far more harrowing close that nonetheless still makes perfectly sick sense given the manner in which the narrative unfolds.

It’s also good to know that Rathbone’s sulky, pouty non-presence in the Twilight movies is all on the character and not a reflection of the young man’s acting abilities. He acquits himself well here, as do the other young cast members.

is one of the best Barker adaptations out there and should be seen by any horror aficionado, even those who aren’t familiar with Barker’s work.

It’s powerful, dark stuff, this. The kind of indiscriminate horror that works in an amoral universe, where no one is exempt from dastardly fates.

(Dread OS courtesy of

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