‘Phobias‘ is anthology film with each segment directed by a different filmmaker. Camilla Belle (“Hoplophobia”), Maritte Lee Go (“Vehophobia”), Joe Sill (“Robophobia”), Chris von Hoffmann (“Ephebiphobia”), and Jess Varley who directed two segments (“Outpost 37”, “Atelophobia”) all contributed.
Johnny (Leonardo Nam) is a computer expert who takes care of his father Jung-Soo (Steve Park) when a strange being contacts him and forces him to find a government facility Outpost 37 run by Dr. Wright (Ross Partridge) who is using patients for creating a fear toxin. He meets Sami (Hana Mae Lee), who has a fear of driving after murdering someone. Alma (Martina García) is a former police officer with a fear of weapons after killing a civilian. Emma (Lauren Miller Rogen) is a teacher with a fear of youth who gets confronted by students who discover she is having an affair with their father. Renee (Macy Gray) is a serial killer with a fear of being imperfect. Dr. Wright is stealing their fears and converting them to gas to distribute it to society.
While the movie does an interesting set-up and premise, it feels incomplete. The movie uses the anthology format and that can be finely tuned, but the story connecting them all did not give you any sort of resolution.
For one thing, two of the characters are outright murderers. While I did feel bad for the others who were innocent civilians caught up in difficult situations, Sami and Renee invoked no such empathy. Especially Renee, who is a serial killer who poisons people at her job so she can steal their body parts. Why should I feel bad for them?
There were also several plot holes. Why was Johnny picked by this strange being? How did he find Outpost 37? What about the strange being? They introduced way too many plot points that ultimately went nowhere. The individual segments were fine, but they added nothing to the main story. There was also some shoe-horned social commentary that made me say, “oh this again.” It was forced and bland.
Bottom line, Phobias is a disjointed and disturbing horror film that has a lot to say, yet somehow avoids saying it. While I applaud the attempt, I did not find it particularly interesting.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Bloody violence, Strong foul language, Disturbing sequences
FAVORITE QUOTE: We have to get out of here.
Check out the trailer below:
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