Written and Directed by: Todd Spence, Zak White
Starring: Nathan Sutton, and Scott Whyte
Reviewed by: Brett Gallman (@brettgallman)
Todd Spence and Zack White, the diabolically clever minds behind “Your Date is Here” and “Where Is It,” are back with “Fear Wish,” another bite-sized jolt of horror. Anyone familiar with the duo’s work knows what they’re in for here: a simple but cool hook that builds to a quick, fun burst of terror. You know you’re getting a jolt--you just don’t know where it’s coming from in the frame.
“Fear Wish” finds the despondent Rich (Nathan Sutton) holding a frantic phone conversation with his friend, Mike (Scott Whyte). The latter delivers instructions, cryptically hinting that Rich might be able to reverse an unfortunate situation involving his wife. “In order to wish for something you need, you have to wish for something you fear,” Mike insists as his friend broods from his couch. Rich ultimately relents, but, as you can imagine, “Fear Wish” has a little bit of the ol’ “Monkey’s Paw” in its DNA, meaning this well-intentioned wish goes horribly awry. A feeling of dread quickly emerges as you realize exactly how Rich has fucked up, and Spence and White leave you just enough time to brace for the inevitable jump scare waiting at the end. Your eyes subconsciously start to scan the frame, and the abundance of negative space misdirects you until the climactic jolt gets you.
Spence and White are masters of this “gotcha” genre. No, you don’t go into something like “Fear Wish” expecting nuanced, existential horror; it’s more akin to a thrill ride--you get in, you get out, and you have a good, uneasy little laugh afterwards. It’s the cinematic equivalent of a campfire tale that ends with the storyteller producing a loud noise during the climax. Its, you know, fun, especially whenever they arrive here, in the drudgeries of winter, when this kind of mischievousness is a little out of season. Something like “Fear Wish” offers a little taste of Halloween, and it’s never too early for that.
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