Nothing Left to Fear full movie review - A Refreshing Break From Torture Porn & Haunted Houses
I first heard about this film when Slash was doing interviews about how the company was going to make films more reminiscent to older horror films, where they played on the psychological aspect rather than relying on gore or overt special effects.
I was immediately looking forward to it for this reason alone - the horror genre seems stuck in a deep rut, and only knows how to remake Japanese films, make yet another uninspired haunted house film, or go down the Saw/Hostel route and make it as bloody and nauseating as possible.
This film doesn't deserve the lowly rating it has received here on IMDb. I suspect much of that is simply the people rating aren't used to this type of horror - not all the answers are given to you, it's a slow-burning story too. It is wonderful at what it does, but if you're rating it as a comparison to Nightmare on Elm Street then you'll be disappointed.
One of the main things I liked about this film was the development of the characters. In horror today much of the time you never get to know who the people are - and often, if you do get to know them, you don't like them. Probably to make it easier when they inevitably get bumped off. Nothing Left to Fear took the time to build the characters up though - we get a voyeuristic glimpse into their lives; the close family, the realistic bond between the sisters, the doubt and hope in the parents after moving to a new town.
The character of Noah was excellent too - from watching other films the audience would have certain expectations or suspicions about him, and it was great how his character didn't play out to any clichés, which was a welcome twist.
I felt the film had a good pace too - again, it utilised time to build up the characters and the plot, and there were some very good subtleties and references to the situation that can be picked up on second viewing.
One of the best things about the film was how it didn't rely on effects or overt scare tactics, it managed to be creepy without it. The score was artfully done, especially during the 'Passover' scene, building up the tension beautifully. Of course, *some* effects were used, but it was tasteful and to accurately portray the story, rather than as a tool to scare the audience to save the writers the job of actually writing something scary.
Contrary to some other reviews, I found the acting well done. Especially for a horror flick, which as a genre is absolutely plagued with sub-par actors. Again I suspect this is just because this is a type of horror a lot of modern viewers aren't used to, but anyone with even a passing interest in older horrors will enjoy this one - think Rosemary's Baby: an entirely different story to Nothing Left to Fear, but one that expertly built tension and avoided clichés, creating familiarity with the characters. NLTF is more like that than Saw or Insidious, and it's all the better for it.
It isn't the best horror film ever made, but it's by no means the worst and in comparison to most horrors of the last decade (or 2) it really stands on its own as an enjoyable, creepy film. It's also worth remembering that this is a debut film for everyone - it's Slash's first turn as producer, it was the director's first film behind the the camera, and the company's first offering.
If you're fed up with the factory-line horrors of late, knowing that it'll be another knock-off or cheap imitation, give Nothing Left to Fear a try with an open mind. It's a very good film, and gives pause for recollection at the end, where each viewer can reach their own conclusions about what happened and why.