'Nothing Left to Fear' Blu-Ray Review: Botched Attempt to Explore Religion in Old School Shocker
Nothing Left to Fear is the first movie from Slasher Films, a new film company owned by Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash. It's a strong attempt at an old school horror film based on a legend out of Stull, Kansas. The story goes that Stull is really a gateway to Hell, and Nothing Left to Fear plays on that assumption through the family of a pastor new to the town.
Giving away more than those sparse story details would be a mistake because there's not much of a story here. Let me elaborate. It's clear from the beginning that Slash and director Anthony Leonardi III want to model the film's pacing on older horror movies by the likes of Roman Polanski and Brian DePalma. They clearly appreciate the slow build up and the laying out of characters, letting the horror elements wait until the final act. This leaves little room for the simple story and gives Nothing Left to Fear a lot of wasted potential.
The "build up" takes about an hour. Leonardi spends the first two thirds of his film going nowhere, thinking he's building character when he's really just making the audience wonder: "this is a horror movie?"
The build up isn't just far too long, but it's also misguided. This movie never knows what point of view it wants to show. The family consists of the pastor, his wife, a son and two daughters. One daughter becomes cursed with ... something, and the other daughter seems to be the one that is supposed to be our window into this town, but Leonardi has trouble making that clear for a long time. He jumps from the pastor to his wife to the cursed daughter and finally settles on the other daughter when it's just too late for us to care.
For being a film that wants to be a throwback to older horror movies that based themselves more off of implied creepiness and story, Nothing Left to Fear has an over-reliance on special effects. The film also needed a few rewrites to really work on a level above an average horror flick.
I'm not saying Fear, available now on Blu-ray, is horrible. It's obvious that there is a lot of passion here from the director and Slash. It might be because the two are too fresh to the genre. I admire Slash's ambition with his studio, and I hope his films continue to get better.
Highlights from the movie include a performance from Clancy Brown as the town's retiring pastor, and the film also looks fantastic for a low-budget effort. The movie also has ambition, which is more than I can say for most horror films out there.
Unlike another film that dealt with suspense and religion, Signs, this movie also seems to have no real interest in intelligently exploring the idea of faith and the different kinds of it even though it's a theme begging to be fleshed out.
There's no doubt Slash, Leonardi and this studio will get better as time goes on especially when you consider the utter ambition and effort that goes into trying to make this movie different. Unfortunately, that time is not now.