Adapted from Clive Barker’s ‘Books of Blood’ the movie ‘Dread’ faithfully defends Barker’s reputation for all that is grim and disturbing, the result, being a dark and brooding movie which grips you from the start and builds to quite a horrific climax.
The plot surrounds a collage study about the psychological nature of dread. The movie begins with a request for participants to bare their souls on camera, revealing their worst fears from their past. The motive for two of the group is simply to satisfy the requirements for their thesis but for Quaid, a seriously disturbed teenager obsessed with ‘facing the beast’, the study has far more serious connotations. To begin with things seem to be going well, but Quaid is never satisfied with the results, wanting to push the project deeper and deeper into the field, until finally he goes way past the mark.
Really for this movie the plot is everything. The pace is slow, building up all the time until finally the switch is flicked and it all goes mental. Only Barker’s imagination could send things to the level of intensity found in the last 30 minutes. The acting is great too, right from the get go the characters come alive and there is never a break in their consistency, no cheesy moments and with their back stories being subtly developed throughout you develop a real empathy for them. The movie shows clear direction, everything from the contently grimy locations and the dark sets, to the characters drab wardrobes helped to create an atmosphere which never lets up.
The majority of the violence is contained towards the end of the movie, and whilst its nothing super gory there are some quality sequences of violence throughout, my favourite being an attack on a stripper which reminded me of something out of ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’; as I said, it never gets very gory but it is suitably bloody, and the effects are great. These sequences tie in with the whole atmosphere of the movie, they are not cliché in anyway, but thoughtful and suitably grim; they certainly don’t disappoint despite being relatively small in number.
Overall this is a movie which I recommend you go out of your way to see. It is thought provoking and very plausible which only adds to its impact. Look out also for the other book to movie conversions from the ‘Books of Blood’ series, ‘Midnight Meat Train’ and ‘Book of Blood’. Reviews for them coming soon.