Force to Fear
10 Mar 2022
Chad Bruns and Zane Hershberger
Chad Bruns and Zane Hershberger
Sable Griedel, Chad Bruns, April Yanko, Chad Bruns
Force to Fear is an 80's inspired action-horror hybrid where two groups of delinquents find themselves having to fight to survive the night. The film takes place at an abandoned school where we find two dirty cops, Clint and Nick, torturing a kidnapped drug dealer. As the opening scene unfolds, we learn that the drug dealer was having an affair with Clint's wife and got her hooked on drugs, which ultimately led to her death. This plot point establishes Clint and Nick's questionable motives for the remainder of the film, as they are clearly outraged and up to no good. So, when a group of high schoolers looking to party and a masked killer on the hunt arrive at the school, both Clint and Nick try to navigate the situation to cover their backs. However, their scare tactics and aggression causes more issues, leading to dramatic fight scenes and bloody kills.
For an indie film made with a low budget, I have to applaud the practical effects, the score, and the action sequences. Force to Fear delivers a shocking amount of blood that is emphasised by excellent practical effects. I also have to applaud the synthwave score by Matt Cannon. The music was reminiscent of 80's cinema, and thanks to Cannon's talent, the score managed to elevate every scene–adding a level of excitement and thrill. However, while I enjoyed the practical effects and score, the acting, plot, and dialogue didn't connect.
The acting throughout Force to Fear is both cliche and cheesy, but to their credit, the cast gives it 110%. Unfortunately, there is a severe lack of character development, depth or nuance, making it difficult to sympathise and connect with the characters. For instance, as the film progresses, Nova, played by Sable Griedel, has an obvious agenda against the masked assailant known as The Target. Nova declares to the group that "he must pay for what he has done", implying a dark and mysterious background between the two and, hopefully, an epic showdown. However, as the end credits began to roll, the anticipated showdown didn't come to fruition. Instead, we are left with more questions than answers, such as: who was The Target, what did he do, and why was Nova hunting him?
On that note, unfortunately, Force to Fear is plagued by confusing story developments that lead nowhere. For instance, within the first act, we believe that the group are innocent high schoolers looking to party, but as the film advances, we learn that they are a group of mercenaries hunting a target. I was fully expecting the kids to get caught in the crosshairs of Clint and Nick's kidnapping high jinx, so this hitman/hitwoman b-plot didn't make sense and felt very forced.
So, is Force to Fear worth watching? At times, I found myself making comparisons to the 90's Mortal Kombat films–which I think is an excellent reference. Just like the Mortal Kombat films, Force to Fear is plagued by a lacklustre plot, cheesy dialogue, crazy fight scenes and cliches, but while Force to Fear isn't my cup of tea, I know fine-well there are people out there who will enjoy this film. So, if you are a fan of cheesy 80's action movies or the Mortal Kombat films, I think Force to Fear is a film you'll appreciate.