Fear(s) Of The Dark

Fear(s) Of The Dark


Reviewed by: George Williamson

Peur(s) du Noir is a collection of cauchemar from some of the most talented animators working today. Some are sadistically twisted, others sinisterly haunting; some will cause you to tremble in your seat, others won't make their power felt until you've tucked yourself in, turned out the light and hear an unknown sound in the gloom.

The most memorable piece in the collection is by Charles Burns - it sits unpleasantly between a entomological episode of the Twilight Zone and the body horror of David Cronenburg. Eric is a scientifically minded student who has a passion for studying insects, however, when he finds a creepy humanoid mantis in the woods and brings it home things take a sinister turn. Before long his new girlfriend starts to act very strangely and he soon comes to a stomach churningly nasty end.

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Another vividly recreated nightmare is Blutch's huntsman who sets his slavering hounds on a succession of people, then laughs maniacally as they're torn limb from limb. It's a simple little story, but the cruel jaws of the dogs and the terror on the faces of those attacked is beautifully rendered, really tapping into primordial fears. The other tales are more eerie than frightening, but still very watchable.

The visual styles are as diverse as the facets of horror which they illustrate - ranging from crosshatched monochrome CGI to smudgily shaded pencil drawing. Richard McGuire's presents a piece about a man walking around a darkened house, drawn in a superb monochrome style, showing only what is lit, keeping you in the dark, guessing what's in the inky blackness. Marie Caillou's story of a little girl and the ghost of a samurai is brightly lit, but more unsettling; its clean illustrations telling a gruesome secret.

While all of the stories in this collection are effective chillers, it feels very loosely brought together and the interludes that separate the main stories are a letdown. They're not particularly visually compelling and the monologues accompanying them aren't particularly interesting; they rather detract from the sinister mood.

Fear(s) of the Dark is a collection of great animations, but while each of its chapters are great, the overall film doesn't gel brilliantly.

Reviewed on: 23 Jun 2008
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Ten animations from the dark side.
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