Movies, such as Urban Fears, that so wholly embody the independent spirit must, regardless of its evaluation as a good or bad piece of work, are to be admired. Writer/director/producer/co-cinematographer/casting director/music producer/editor Nicholas Michael Jacobs corrals the resources available to him. To that end, there are five people with the surname Jacobs who are involved with this film, so I’m guessing he pulled in family members. He also stretches a shoestring budget and comes up with a milder version of the kind of grindhouse flick obvious hero Wes Craven might have made back in the day.
Craven isn’t the only horror influencer that Jacobs explicitly tips his hat to here. One of the main characters is a babysitter enduing a very bad night on the job and there is a masked killer running amok from whose breathy POV we are witness to some of the action. Both narrative devices were used to groundbreaking effect in John Carpenter‘s 1978 classic, Halloween. Jacobs’s musical contribution is evocative of Netflix’s horror nostalgia-fest Stranger Things and furthers his homage to Carpenter, who scored many of his films himself. I think both Wes Craven and John Carpenter would be touched by the tribute each filmmaker receives in Urban Fears.
“…a masked killer is running loose on the streets of Philadelphia, chasing poor James Morse…”
Jacobs also draws inspiration from more recent horror pics, most notably Gore Verbinski’s The Ring. Case in point: one of the several storylines in Urban Fears concerns an Instagram post, placing the movie squarely in the now, that warns all who view it to “Repost or Die” within six minutes. The sequel, should there be one, will surely take place in the Twitterverse, warning characters to “Retweet or Die!”
Simultaneously, a masked killer is running loose on the streets of Philadelphia, chasing poor James Morse (Brian Jacobs), whose father, Ted (Shawn C. Phillips), may or may not have murdered James’s mother. Then in a not-so-subtle shout-out to the “Amelia” segment in Dan Curtis’s Trilogy of Terror, there’s a freaky, possessed doll terrorizing our virginal babysitter (Alexis Beacher). And there is also a creepy tween (is there any other kind in a horror movie?) straight out of Verbinski’s film.