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Dendrophobia Short Film Review

Directed by: #JunayedAlavi



 

Dendrophobia is a short film that exposes one man’s deep-rooted fear of trees. This is one phobia which I did have to Google as I had to know if this was a true fear, and low and behold discovered it is in fact real. I suppose there is a fear out there for everyone to suffer with! Director Junayed Alavi begins this narrative with a teacher and child sitting across from one another. The teacher begins to tell the child a tale about fear and attempts to impart some wisdom onto the young boy, that fear is just an illusion, hoping that he will understand the real monster of his story is.


The opening scene to this short looked intriguing and promising. The audience see a man walking through a wooded area, the music added over the scene created this intense and eerie atmosphere and appears to be the beginning of a psychological horror, a twisted story between man and nature. The audience then become confused at first at the protagonist’s reaction to the trees and plants that surround him, his face clearly showing panic and torment from being trapped within the woods. As the music begins to heighten and intensify, we begin to wonder what is lurking behind the dark trees to evoke such fear from our main character. The scene quickly changes to him at home, and again as he looks out the window and sees the trees, he begins to breathe heavily and become more and more panicked by the outside and nature, even fearful of a small plant growing outside in the alleyway next to his home. It was at this point the film became comical rather than scary, it was extremely difficult to take the short seriously and understand the narratives direction.


Understandably, the film is called Dendrophobia, however, although this is a fear that exists and one which has not been used within the horror genre, it may be for a very apparent reason that to the average person trees are not scary! So, it was difficult to watch this film without smiling and becoming amused by some of the scenes taking place, the complete opposite reaction to how the director wanted us to feel which was frightened!


It would have been creepy to generate the plants into a creature or become creative with the lighting and allow the audience to truly envision nature as a scary force. Unfortunately, it was one man attempting to fight off a plant and the plant slowly beginning to take over his body. This did not make me look at trees in a different way! The music although was fitting for a horror genre, does not then make the scenes themselves scarier in anyway, there needed to a stronger narrative to really project this film into the horror genre as well as allow the audience to empathise with the character and feel this level of fear that he was experiencing.

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