PHOBIA (DVD) Image

PHOBIA (DVD)

By admin | December 24, 2014

Rory Abel’s low-budget horror flick focuses on an agoraphobic young man who is self-imprisoned in a gloomy brownstone. Mourning the loss of his wife in a car crash (for which he takes responsibility, although it wasn’t his fault) and the medical malpractice deaths of his parents (the brownstone was theirs, hence adding to his gloom), he works from a cramped home office as a stenographer and accepts visits solely from his therapist and an actor pal who delivers groceries and DVDs. When the actor gets an audition that requires him to be away, a kooky-yet-cute blonde chick takes over as the delivery person, and soon becomes his confidante. But when the young man becomes bombarded with increasingly violent and deranged hallucinations, his frayed grasp on reality crumbles beyond rescue.

To its credit, the film has a sharp visual sense and production style that echoes the central character’s emotional tumult. And Michael Jefferson makes a fine impression in the difficult role of the agoraphobic victim, while Emma Dubery (as the replacement grocery delivery person) brings much-needed humor and vibrant sex appeal to the film. Also worth noting, in a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo, is Debbie Rochon as a strident evangelical that comes knocking at the front door.

But, alas, the film mirrors the same fate as its beleaguered protagonist: it is stuck in a finite space with no escape. As a result, it lapses into repetition and increasingly unlikely plot twists, which only dilutes the psychological terror that Abel and his talented crew try to achieve. And by the film’s denouement, one can only rue the lost possibilities of the scenario, rather than quiver in fright over what took place.

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