Director: Robert Green Hall
Starring: Robert Englund, Thomas Dekker, Kevin Gage, Fiona Dourif, Brandon Beemer and Corey Taylor
There are so many horror films released each year that it’s impossible to keep up with them all. A lot slip by, even if you have the intention of watching it. When looking back at those you’ve missed there has to be a reason to grab your attention and Fear Clinic’s hook is that it’s Corey Taylor’s (Slipknot and Stone Sour singer) first acting role, alongside horror legend Robert Englund (Nightmare on Elm Street). Sadly, Fear Clinic isn’t worth checking in to.
Robert Green Hall adapts the web-series of the same name, that he also directed back in 2009, expanding it into a feature length film. The idea is that fear can be conquered. Englund plays Dr Andover who has designed a chamber that can help people get over their fears, using a mix of hallucinations and sensory deprivation. While his patients are in the chamber, Dr Andover wears a strange mask that includes a monocle to speak to the patients while they are under. It looks cool and steam-punky, but does make you wonder why it’s designed that way other than aesthetics. Through the treatments there is an evil entity that is breaking through to our world and with each one it gets closer to opening the door. This is told through a hallucination that Andover has when he touched the ‘fear residue’ that his patients are throwing up.
The effects on this are a real mixed bag. The practical effects look amazing, a real throw-back to horror films like Carpenter’s The Thing or Cronenberg’s The Fly. Sadly, this is mixed with some of the worst CGI from the last decade. The cockroach from the opening sequence looks so bad, that it makes you want to turn the film off at the beginning and then there is some spiders later on that look equally rubbish. They just shouldn’t have been there. The practical effects are so good that when you see the low quality CGI, it looks horrendous.
The pacing is also a mess. It takes quite a while to get going, and then it just rushes through the later half of the film. It genuinely feels like there are missing parts. It’s not cohesive enough to create any true fear or terror. Instead, it just becomes boring. It’s not hard to follow the plot, but it’s not engaging in any way that makes you want to care. The twist makes no sense. Without spoiling it too much, the main group of patients are all connected by a shooting at a restaurant. The twist, being that one of them is the shooter. How did the police not pick them up? It’s hard to go into why it’s so stupid without spoiling it, so I’ll stop there just in case you feel the need to watch it. But when you do, don’t think about it too much or it will just unravel.
Fear Clinic is not scary, it’s only barely watchable. The only reason to watch this is Corey Taylor, who is pretty brilliant and Robert Englund . The rest of the cast aren’t even that convincing. It’s a good idea, with some great practical effects, but it’s presented in an unengaging way. After watching it you’ll have to check into Boredom Clinic to recover.