Monday, September 17, 2012

Dread (2009)


Synopsis taken from IMDb
The outcast cinema student, Stephen Grace, does not drive cars due to the trauma of losing his brother in a car accident. He befriends, Quaid, who since the age of 6 has experienced dreadful nightmares and daydreams about the death of his parents. Quaid purposes they research about each one's innermost fear. Stephen sees the chance of developing an original thesis for college, and invites his friend, Cheryl, to work with them. Among the interviewees, Stephen talks to his colleague, Abby who works with him in the library. Abby has a complex about the way she looks. When the work is almost complete, Quaid has an outburst at one of the interviewee's and ends up destroying the camera and editing equipment. Stephen begins to re-evaluate the situation.

When I first heard they were doing this movie I was instantly skeptical. Because what we have here is the potential to make a landmark horror film. Totally original concept and it's from the mind of Clive Barker.

Dread is my favorite short story off all-time. I got Clive Barker's Books Of Blood Volume 2 at a Farmer's Market for only about fifty cents. I read it and Dread stood out to me the most out of the overall engenius  book. Dread had balls. It took you places that you weren't sure you wanted to go but you go anyway. Dread instantly became my favorite short story I've ever read.

So I was instantly prepared for failure when I heard the movie was being made, because I knew it was damn near impossible for the movie to be better. Unless they followed the book to a T. But let's face it, who does that anymore?

The ending to the book was so brilliant! I actually passed the book along to about 3 or 4 friends and they all loved it as well.

I liked the cast right away, I thought they were young, attractive kids who fit the parts. Shaun Evans did a good job playing Quaid, especially when Quaid starts to lose it. They were sympathetic characters who get caught in a mess.

The story is different. They changed several key things about the book and I noticed the differences right as I started watching. Noting them in my mind to see how this changes the outcome. And what you got was a watered down version of the book. I don't know why they would feel they needed to change the ending, but regardless, it wasn't for the better. I don't blame the cast for this, I blame the writing. The cast did their jobs well, the story just wasn't what it was supposed to be.

The film still has some "turn your head" moments, and it goes pretty deep on the torture factor. But like in the book, it isn't about the physical torture, it's about the mental torture of confronting your worst fear. This part of the movie was good. The best part in the book as well as the movie is the part where Cheryl has to eat the steak. For those of you who haven't seen this, I won't spoil it, but I don't recommend eating while watching this scene.

It all gets worse once Stephen discovers that Quaid is a twisted man in need of help. Quaid won't stop though. He won't stop until he gets his answer. What can you do to stop your own Dread. He plans on finding out by making his victims confront theirs.

The things the people go through in this movie are horrendous and vile. They don't deserve what's being done to them. But Quaid the coward, wants to make his companions face their dread so he won't have to face his. He claims this is helping his victims, sort of like Jigsaw from Saw, but he's only torturing them for his own research.

There's a scene involving a guy who used to be deaf and isn't anymore, and his biggest fear is to be deaf again. To feel that desperate and hopeless again. And let me say it isn't pretty when Quaid decides he wants to use him as a test subject.

I love the relationship between Stephen and Quaid and how they start off becoming good friends. And seeing the character development between them as Stephen starts to realize Quaid is off his rocker. However, this was better done in the book. I didn't feel the chemistry there between them like they portrayed in the short story.

The basic elements of this story are in the movie but they updated some things that didn't really need it. For those who haven't read the book you might like this movie more. For those who have I believe you feel MY Dread.

This film isn't terrible, but I hold Dread in high regard and so I expect a certain standard that I did not feel they were able to execute for this movie. All they had to do was keep it as true to the book as possible and leave the ending alone. But I guess that's a hard question to ask of them. I'm disappointed in this movie. This story deserves a better adaptation.



  1. I, too hold this overall story in high regard thanks to having read the book first. If only they'd stuck to the book!


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