Twas the last CUT! before Christmas when all through London’s Horse Hospital, not a creature was stirring… Except when something really scary happened!
Yes the final CUT! presentation before Christmas, Phobia was a bit of a roller coaster, with shocks coming thick and fast. MacKinlay (Michael Jefferson) is an agoraphobic who hasn’t left his apartment in a dark New York Brownstone, since partner Jane (Sarah Schools) was killed in car accident. Mac was the driver. Even his psychiatrist Dr Edmondson (Peter Gregus) has to come to him. His only other real visitors are his pal Taylor (Andrew Ruth) and new home shopping delivery girl Bree (Emma Dubery).
Problem is that not all of Mac’s visitors are real. Oh no, there’s the guy with the big knife (Jason Grimste) who keeps threatening him, his dead wife (sometimes clothed and reasonable, but otherwise bloody faced and autopsy scarred naked) and the black clad veiled woman (Sandra Palmari) with a disturbing habit of growing spider legs. What’s worse is that all of this lot have a nasty habit of telling him that everybody dies, usually just before they go after him with something sharp. Mac hits it off with Bree, but as their romance blooms his visions get worse and even more threatening, and before long Mac starts having real trouble distinguishing real life from his deadly hallucinations.
No prizes for guessing what is going to happen at movie end, but it is one hell of a suspenseful ride getting there as Mac’s delusions are built up one after another. Lighting, sound and music are really effectively used to maximise each set up, even the hardened CUT! audience experienced a few frissons of skin jumping horror!
A claustrophobic thriller with plenty of nicely managed shocks, I give Phobia a 555/666.
Phobia is released on DVD in the UK on 26 January.
Screenings at the CUT! include one free drink plus entry into a free draw to win all kinds of strange promotional stuff. Entry is free, but strictly limited. To get on the guest list e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Review by Simon Ball