Fear: An Experimental Film

The goal of our film, Fear, is to recreate an atmosphere of dread and, of course, fear. Not unlike David Lynch’s introduction to a world of filth and crime in Blue Velvet through a journey into the canal of a severed ear, we begin the film by drawing the viewer into the terrifying maw of a hollowed tree trunk. Most of the shots at this point of the film work to beckon the viewer downward, be it moving downward on a jib, or sliding downward on a dolly. You are going down. Down into a world of pure fear. We ultimately opted to keep the aggressively blown out and loud audio recorded from the camera during a run on the car mount because it sounded not unlike the roar of a monster. It is jarring and terrifying, and makes the uneasy silence that follows it all the more unsettling. Many of the following shots are composed to make the viewer feel uncomfortable, focusing on barbed wire, spiders, and spiderwebs, as well as shots captured with wide 16 MM lenses so as to give a deep, lonely, and uncomfortable feel. A young woman enters, running, running from something, terrified. We deliberately worked to cut the sequence of her running somewhat choppily so as to increase her sense of agitation. Otherwise, her fleeing would have seemed too fluid, too safe. When the woman reaches the bridge, we used a dutch tilt to increase the unease, and then shot her face up close with a 16 MM, so as to create an extremely jarring fish-eye effect. This world of fear is meant to seem almost as though it is another world entirely. Rain comes and goes without warning. Nature acts by its own rules. Lightning flashes violet. The bridge, the turning point for losing oneself to fear is lit a cowardly violet. After the woman loses herself to fear, the audience is finally permitted to escape, the way they came. We shot each of the shots leading in also moving out, and effectively mirrored the opening. The sound is different though. Something is lost. The viewer and the woman, whoever is experiencing fear is more alone than other.

Finally, we overlaid the entire sequence with a poem pertaining to losing oneself to fear. This haunting delivery was ultimately the glue that held the film together. We had to work to mix her reading with the ominous background track we had laid in, as well as the various natural sound effects we had added so as to give the film a surreal, lonely, atmospheric feel, but also to ground it in reality. Mixing these many layers of sound was one of the most difficult aspects ultimately.

In short, Fear is a terrifying journey into the very heart of fear, loss of identity, and loneliness. The fear that we once imagined as a fast-paced wall of terror slowly developed into a slow burning pensive look at fear through loneliness and isolation. The nature surrounding the woman emphasized the loneliness and isolation of the elements, of being surrounded by empty earth. It goes to show that fear can manifest itself in many ways. Some less obvious than others.

You can view it here.


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