Sunday 8 January 2023

Horror Film Review: Bring Out the Fear (2021) ★★★★☆

It's early January and I'm sitting on a train, travelling through County Wicklow to Dublin. The rain is beating against the windows, the landscape outside is frigid and grey. Now is the perfect time to watch independent horror Bring Out the Fear, written and directed by Richard Waters and filmed in this very part of Ireland.

Bring Out the Fear (2021) | Directed by Richard Waters | Horror Film Review

Bring Out the Fear should be a tale of cosy, winter bliss. Rosie (Ciara Bailey) and Dan (Tad Morari) take a long, outdoor walk to reconnect with nature and with each other. The only problem? Things are far from ideal between them and in a bad case of missing-all-cues-to-the-contrary and the worst-timing-ever, Dan decides to propose to Rosie on a romantic lookout point.

It does not go as planned.

Desperate to escape their increasingly awkward situation, Dan and Rosie rush to leave the forest and soon find themselves walking in circles. Could it be that someone is watching them? Does the forest not want them to leave?

Before long, the ghosts of their relationship begin to haunt them: the idea that things might not be as idyllic as Dan likes to believe, the spectre of Rosie's infidelity, Dan's inability to outrun the embarrassment of his failed proposal.

The question is: who will survive this impossible ordeal?

Bring Out the Fear was filmed almost entirely in a seemingly infinite forest in Wicklow, Ireland. The endlessly verdant background feels ever more claustrophobic and ominous and director Waters uses this setting to maximum effect. As Dan begins to blend more and more into the foliage, Rosie is a beacon of colour in her yellow raincoat.

The film is tense from the beginning and the horrors to come are heavily foreshadowed in both the opening scenes and title. That means little though, because the viewer is still piecing together the real source of evil here long after the credits have rolled.

An allegory for the humiliation and pain of a crumbling relationship, Bring Out the Fear is well-acted throughout with both Bailey and Morari enticing the viewer to share in every cringeworthy interaction between their characters Rosie and Dan. And just when viewers think they’ve got it all worked out following that rollercoaster of a climax, the final scene causes them to reconsider everything they thought they knew.

Tad Morari is Dan and Ciara Bailey is Rosie | Bring Out the Fear 2021 | Horror Film Review
I give Bring Out the Fear an excellent four out of five stars and recommend to fans of claustrophobic folk horror. I'll be interested to see what Richard Waters brings to the Irish horror scene next.

Bring Out the Fear is out now on Apple TV and iTunes. Visit the Bring Out the Fear official page for more viewing options.

Trailer: Bring Out the Fear (2021), Dir. Richard Waters


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