Claustraphobia in films; how would you define it? There is, of course, the literal sense that works so well in horror and thriller films such as Buried, 127 Hours or even Saw, which sees the characters trapped in a tiny space, living off what little resources they have and surviving with walls that seem to be caving in at every minute. Whilst these are terrifying, I would argue that claustrophobia can be intensely done with emotions, seeing the psyche of a person cave in with emotions can be just as horrifying, if not more, as the physical side of the fear.
With Steve Kahn’s fifteen minute short Fear, it’s an incredible combination of both that sees the film become this superb masterful thriller.
“Fear is the price of imagination.”
See, it’s the titular emotion that drives the movie along. The film becomes about isolation in the safety of your own home and the battle between reality and your own imagination. Played effectively well by Jessie Rabideau, the film is a superb take on the claustrophobia of being alone and how our heroine's mind plays tricks on her. Tapping into our own experiences, battling that little nagging feeling that you aren’t quite safe, Kahn greatly invests in the fearful nature of the film and, in turn, makes the short crawl across your skin. Much like the lead herself, we are toiling with what is real and then no longer trust our own minds. It’s a very well done short, in this sense.
What helps fantastically is that Kahn really works at developing the atmosphere through imagery and the narrative. The time ticks along normally, but it is clear her focus is erratic. As she tries to sort out what is real and what isn’t, our own perceptions through cinematography and visuals becomes distorted, causing a new level of fright to enhance the film. Whilst there are some points that don’t work (for example, there is far too many fast-paced cuts and transitions), the general flow of the film is great and terrifying. Kahn has created a truly impressive film.
Fear will be circulating film festivals this year. Make sure you check it out or like them over at Facebook.