film reel image

film reel image

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Fear the Night 2023 * * * Stars


2023's Fear the Night is an incredibly violent and remorseless thriller, a film that might be a fine addition to anyone's Halloween repertoire (it is October after all). At 92 minutes, the only thing that irked me was how "Night" ended, not lean and mean but willing to explain everything to the viewer in a clip via a police station. Uh why? Just let star Maggie Q sit there on the porch, all bloodied-up, scowling at the audience, and reveling in her superior badassery. I mean that would be a neat final frame.

Directed by Neil LaBute (a veteran helmer who too loves to exploit the butchery) and distributed by those guys at Quiver (remember Becky and The Fanatic?), "Night" is like a hybrid of stuff akin to Straw Dogs and Assault on Precinct 13. You know those movies where people are trapped in a building (or abode) and a bunch of ruffians are trying to get in to cause havoc. Said ruffians want something and they are willing to execute and penetrate without scruples. "You've got no idea who we are and all we want is inside that house". Indeed.

The opening act in Fear the Night is a little shaky (trite dialogue, annoying characters, stock setting, etc.). Then the flick kicks into high gear cause what counts is the action and mode of survival. Maggie Q (as Army veteran Tess) is the standout, all business and getting her kill on at will. I mean if you've seen other TV shows and pics with Maggie you know she's just playing herself here. It's not a stretch but spot-on casting is the word I would use. Add LaBute's claustrophobic eye for setting up a scene, some random title cards depicting the time of events, and antagonists that country bumpkin it to the nth degree (bows and arrows, ski masks, knives) and you've got a living nightmare that's a bachelorette party gone to pot. Burns "night".

Written by Jesse Burleson

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