URBAN FEARS * USA 2019 Dir: Nicholas Michael Jacobs. 70 mins
An anthology of urban horror stories linked by location, friendship groups and contemporary communications, writer-director Nicholas Michael Jacobs’ film opens with a story about a “Share this post or die” electronic chain letter and an annoying millennial blogger. But it’s just an excuse to trot out another sub-J horror pale-faced long-haired dead girl. Approximately 20 years too late. This is the start of a home movie-level anthology flick with six minutes of end credits and a lot of extended scenes in which amateurishly played characters stare at their smartphones. Not something you see every day, for sure. The stories are banal, to say the least. The chain email is explained by a vlogger, who is viewed by a charisma-barren teenager – who, in turn, is terrorised by ominous chalkboards, sinister hashtags and an attempt to make a stabby character named Violet into a bonafide threat. A paranoid dad warns his adolescent son about the crazy motherfuckers who come out after sundown. We get five minutes of close-up p.o.v. shots of the kid very slowly robbing stuff from a house he’s broken into…before he’s finally pursued by a masked stranger. And a teenage girl is terrorised by a creepy doll while yammering on her phone for what seems like an eternity. The only flicker of joy to be found in URBAN FEARS is the onscreen appearance of some ASH VS EVIL DEAD pin badges.
Review by Steven West