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By Merle Bertrand | October 18, 1999

Anne (Nathalie Richard) hasn’t been out of her house in a year; ever since the accident which claimed part of her leg. Not coincidentally, it’s also been about a year since she and her stick-in-the-mud husband Donnie (Daniel Aukin) have made love. When Iris (Sarah Adler), Anne’s half sister arrives for an extended visit, she’s not so much a breath of fresh air as a gust who does her best to blow out the repressed and gloomy atmosphere suffocating her beloved sister. I’m always suspicious of films with a running time of under 80 minutes because most usually feel padded to stretch long enough to qualify as a feature. “Afraid of Everything” is no exception, although it’s nonetheless a decent exercise in minimalist filmmaking. Probably 90% of David Barker’s simmering black and white film takes place in Anne and Donnie’s apartment with only some combination of the three principles on screen. This leads to a nicely appropriate touch of claustrophobia as well as ratchets up the repressed sexual tension between Donnie and a subtly but mercilessly flirtatious Iris.
With the proverbial lid clamped down on this primed for drama threesome, “Afraid of Everything” could have built to a powerful and explosive conclusion. You keep waiting for the pot to boil over, but it never does. Instead, Barker lets the steam vent out all too easily and the film falls flat in the end as a result.

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