Brandon Scullion’s “Live-In Fear” is a commendable creative effort of cult cinema, paranormal thriller, and something I call “New American Psychotica” . The story is an elaborate mixture of classic survival/grindhouse and paranormal horror. Plus Scullion even mixes in a crazy fanatical cult. “Live-In Fear” stars Arielle Brachfeld (The Haunting of Whaley House, Axeman at Cutter's Creek), Chris Dorman, Sarah Greyson and David Lautman, with Maria Olsen, Geoffrey Gould, Myles Cranford, Charlene Geisler and Nancy Wolfe bringing an American Gothic quirkiness to the neighborhood.
The story has some recognizable elements that will be familiar to horror fans from other films in this style of horror. There is a hint of Whedonism and Alan Ball that seem to influence aspects of Brandon’s story telling in “Live-In Fear”. At least to me, watching certain scenes and hearing some of the dialog, my first thought was a Whedon and Alan Ball influence. The thing about this flick is that so many different subgenres and decades of horror are noticeably influencing this mash-up nightmare. It keeps with a dark, depressed tone from the beginning to the very end.
The special effects are pretty effective and thankfully practical. I didn't recognize any major use of CGI on the paranormal aspects. This is a lower budgeted indie horror so the FX is stripped down and minimal in the film with most of the chills coming from the characters on dark personas and a collision of tragic back-stories that come to the surface and cause “Live-In Fear” to become a layered, dramatic collection of train wreck personas finally dealing with their baggage. The soundtrack stays as creepy and depressed as the characters and subject matter.
Overall “Live-In Fear” is a decent horror film that could easily become a modern cult classic. It has some flaws, I heard some dialog that comes a bit too close to other past material. Some is delivered in the same style for the same dramatic effect. Not sure if it was intended and meant for a sort of homage but it kind of drags the originality and creativity down just a tad. That being said, “Live-In Fear” has a cool, complex story with a great mix of stylized concepts that pull from several classic subgenres. And the added visual, almost psychedelic transitions were impressive. “Live-In Fear” is worth checking out.