Fear of the Dark is an independent Horror Film that was released in 2002. The film stars Jesse James (not that one) who plays the character of Ryan Billings. Ryan has an older brother, Dale, who is played by Kevin Zegers. The rest of the cast is filled out by Charles Edwin Power and Linda Purl who play the two boys parents and Rachel Skarsten who plays the young girl Dale is interested in.
The film opens with a black screen and as we watch we find out we are staring at a pane of glass that has just been broken by a baseball. We hear voices of several young boys outside and one is eventually made to go into this basement and retrieve the missing baseball. Upon entering the basement his “friends” lock him in the dark room and as the boy screams to be let out something in the dark grabs him.
We are the introduced to Ryan Billings who is on his skateboard heading home. As the film progresses we find him at the top of the stairs to his families basement having a conversation with his mother. He eventually heads downstairs but we get the sense he is far from comfortable entering the basement. It is not long before we find out that this young man has an extreme fear of the dark. There is a piece of foreshadowing as Ryan eventually goes down the stairs to talk to his mother. He asks her why they cannot be like a normal family and have a light switch at the top of the stairs.
The movie continues to progress and we get an introduction to the remaining members of the main cast. We get to meet Ryan’s father, his brother and lastly Heather, a young woman that his brother likes. The interesting thing about Heather is that we learn that something had happened to her brother. He has somehow died young of a reported heart attack. You almost have to wonder was this the boy at the beginning of the film?
This is also the point of the film were we get to find out how Ryan’s intense fear of the dark has been impacting the rest of the family. As a young Ryan stands in a nearby hallway, we see his reaction as his parents and his brother talk about his condition. We get a sense at this point how bad this fear is and can almost sympathize with the young man.
The great thing about this film is that it takes us into a fear that many of us grew up with at some point in our life. How many of us can honestly say that they did not have a nightlight at some point growing up as a child. How many of us still till this day leave a light on in some place in our home to avoid bumping into things when he get up late at night?
Fear of the Dark does a great job of bringing you into the action and the fears of Ryan. There may even be times when you may find yourself questioning if the young boy is delusional, or if there really is something to his fear. The film gives us moments in which we see shapes and forms in the dark in regions just within the light spectrum. This adds to some of the paranoia as the young man begins to almost pass on to his older brother.
The paranoia may even pass on to the viewer if you find yourself watching this film in the dark or in a low lit room. To be honest, this may add to the fear you may find yourself suddenly starting to feel as you watch the film. This is especially true as what is in the dark starts to show itself, not long after the power goes out in the town.
Fear of the Dark is one of those films that can find the viewer jumping at shadows as they watch. The setting of a large home with multiple rooms, a scary basement, and a clutter filled attic helps to enhance the setting. The drama and fear caused by a simple flitter of lights and the eventual power outage should make anyone recall those dramatic events of their childhood. You may even find yourself thinking back and wondering was there something there? This is the magic of Fear of the Dark. The film draws you in and can have you remember those moments of your youth. Who knows, it may even impact you after watching this film for the night. As a special treat there is a scene in the film in which the television begins to be controlled by another source. I suggest you take care to watch the film that keeps popping up on the screen as it is a Horror Classic, and who knows maybe you will think the same way about this film.