Since the dawn of intelligence, mankind has feared what goes bump in the night. We fear what we can see, and fear what we can not see in equal measures - especially in modern society, right? Perhaps not, not in the way you think. In today's world things have shifted. The boogieman under your bed? The clown in your closet? They're definitely still scary to the smaller humans around us - but for the adults things have shifted. When you turn on the news or go online, the horrors presented by a telekinetic teenager seem minuscule - compared to the state of the world economy, or the deadly virus working its way through the population. How can a being with horns compete? Do you think that red skin is scarier than the red minus sign in front of your bank balance?
This is where the short film, "Fear, Actually" from writer, director Sassy Mohen leads us. Not into some deep dark basement filled with creatures and critters alike, but into a world of incompetent leaders and conspiracy-minded crazies. It all sounds so serious but in truth? It's all quite humorous to watch. Who knew that such dire subject matter could be so much fun! Don't concentrate on the serious picture I've painted above, enjoy how it's all laid out in front of you and maybe after, you'll have some time left over to contemplate the sad message below the surface. Considering this short film is only around ten minutes long, there's plenty of time.
It's the very concept and presentation of this film that makes it a comedy. If you're looking for gags by the minute, you won't find it here. Not really. The very idea however, that a bunch of movie monsters would attend a therapy session is comedic. A session put together because these creatures don't scare people anymore? Golden. I don't think I outright laughed all that much watching this film, save a funny delivery from Carrie, but I smiled most of the way through. Hell, there's even a somewhat touchy-feely moment at the end. What more could you ask? As a stylish low-budget production, "Fear, Actually" hit all the right marks and was indeed, very entertaining.
The general look and flow worked pretty well - "Fear, Actually" speeds along and actually feels quicker than its already very short length. There's no mistaking this as a low-budget film, but it doesn't look bad or rushed as it tells its story. I also can't stress enough how I loved seeing all these characters together - you can obviously tell it's not them, them - but the approximation is more than enough to not have you guessing who is who. Haha!
When it's all said and done? "Fear, Actually" was definitely fun and when it comes to independent film, that's all that really counts. The layered, more serious message underneath is also clearly present - but never overpowers to the point you'll forget what this film is all about. I also gotta say... I loved the song at the end. A perfect wrap-up for sure. An easy four stars.