Everything about this movie from the title to the opening scene spelled out disaster. Well, in the way that a low-budget, straight-to-Netflix horror movie could. The thesaurus for classier negative descriptors was ready. I was contemplating the opening paragraph ripping I would bestow on this. But lo and behold, Be Afraid did not suck. Not a masterpiece by any means, but interesting and creepy enough to not only hold my attention, but draw me in.
This is a project that a bigger budget would have served well. The acting was surprisingly decent, the filming locations did the job, and the script and story had a serious tone. Predictability and a strange finale which did not help the viewer understand anything aside, this was not a bad flick. The special effects lacked, but they were minimal enough that they did not impede on the film’s quality. That being said, some extra dough would have enhanced them even more.
The movie begins with a flashback to four years prior. A man is running through a cornfield with a shotgun looking for a creature that we cannot see except in glimpses. While he is out there, this somewhat invisible force manages to abduct his daughter from his home while he is scouring the cornfield. Cut. Four years later. A family moves into a small town in the middle of nowhere. They have a young son (Michael Leone) who likes to go exploring in the woods by their house. He is approached by the father from the opening, clearly mentally disturbed, looking for his daughter. The police are called by the boy’s worried parents and the police chief arrives to tell them that the man is basically the town crazy—someone who became unhinged following the traumatic event. Of course, things are not what they seem.
The new family has one experience after another. The son begins seeing dark figures in his room. The father (Brian Krause) has sleep paralysis, nightmares, and visions. Finally, the mother (Jaimi Page) has the worst experience of them all: sleep paralysis that causes her to nearly drown in a bathtub. There is also another older son (Jared Abrahamson) who is there to create a love interest with a local girl, but a prank he gets involved with later on in the film unleashes something dark upon the family and townspeople.
As the story unfolds, we learn the sheriff is hiding a dark secret. It is uncovered that there have been a slew of missing children in town over the years. We gain a little bit of insight into the cause, but despite an explanation, it is still fuzzy. I appreciate the subtle ending (there is no crazy, special effects fiesta here), but it demanded more of a bang, or at least something more concrete. The plot fails in this regard.
So what do we have here? The caliber of acting in Be Afraid is higher than one might expect for this type of project. I cannot remember an instance of me rolling my eyes. There is a semi-complicated story which encompasses shadow people, sleep paralysis, paranoia, missing children, and supernatural beings which walk a fine line between ghosts and aliens. As stated earlier, I expected to hate this movie. Instead, I’m giving it a solid 6.5 out of 10 stars. Wouldn’t watch it again, but not a bad way to kill an hour and a half.
Also starring Michelle Hurd, Louis Herthrum, Kevin Grevioux, and Noell Coet. Directed by Drew Gabreski.