Be Afraid (2017)
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Critic Reviews for Be Afraid
Be Afraid is a dull, repetitive slog that does absolutely nothing original or interesting.
While I didn't love Be Afraid - it retreads a lot of overly-familiar ground - I liked it. It's worth a look, especially if you're partial to horror nightmares.
Has an interesting hook but it doesn't do much with it other than the requisite "boo!" moments you've seen a million times before. [Full review in Spanish]
The story is more complex than it at first appears, but it is built of fairly familiar building blocks.
Audience Reviews for Be Afraid
I don't know, but this might be the last review for a little while. Puerto Rico, where I currently live, is currently under hurricane warning. The hurricane is a category 5, we haven't had one of these since the 1890s or something like that. Unless the thing veers away from us, it's not looking good at all. With the destruction that comes with a category 5 hurricane also comes months of rebuilding and recuperation. This would be difficult in a country with even a remotely competent electric company. We don't have one of those here. So, honestly, if this thing does come to pass, I honestly have no idea how long I'll be without electricity. Hence the reviews may stop coming for a while. I'm still hopeful it veers away, leaves Florida alone and just plain fucks off. But I digress. I guess it's apropos that this is named Be Afraid, since that's how I feel right now. Let's move on to the review. Part of me is genuinely surprised that sleep paralysis hasn't been exploited by horror movies. It's a concept that so many people can actually relate to. I saw a documentary on sleep paralysis, called The Nightmare (and it's very good) and sleep paralysis just sounds like an absolutely horrifying experience to go through. Particularly if you see hallucinations of terrifying figures standing over you or just generally in your room. I've never (fortunately) suffered from sleep paralysis, but my mother has and it sounds like it's just the worst. Cause instinct would, normally, tell you that something is wrong with me. Like you don't assume it's something temporary. And that short time span between waking up paralyzed and realizing it's just sleep paralysis must be tense to say the least. That's neither here nor there however. The point is that this flick uses something that they could mine some truly great horror out of and yet they give us, honestly, a dull and uninteresting movie. The sleep paralysis, honestly, isn't even that big part a part of the proceedings. It's, really, just a plot device. They don't really use it that much to attempt to terrify or confound you. It's just a plot device to introduce the shadow people (another thing a lot of people actually see out of the corner of their eyes) as the main villain's underlings, the Hat Man, who's just another shadow person who, you guessed it, wears a hat. I'll be honest, I thought the film had some solid ideas. The concept of a man (or anyone for that matter, really) doing what must be done in order to protect a family is an old one, but I do think it works very well here all things considered. They hammer this point home to John, the lead. He has to protect his family. The way they go about that, though, is really just retreads of other horror movies you've seen. The whole 'seeing things that no one else sees' story has been told countless times before and there's nothing here that truly makes it feel like they added their own touch to an old concept. John and his family, at first, seem Hallmark Greeting Card perfect for me. They're the happy family where everyone is perfect and there are no flaws. That's a lie, obviously, but that's how they come across at first and, honestly, it's a little sickening. They're so sickening that you want the horror to hit their family almost immediately. That's not what you're supposed to be thinking. I do think the movie gets a little better on that front, in that, while not necessarily the most likable group (particularly Heather, who for a lot of the film, comes across as incredibly smothering and unfriendly), you somehow buy into their plight. I don't wanna say you cheer for them, but let's just say that you grow to know these people and why they are the way they are a little more. I think this was one of the few things the film did well, while the horror is dull and repetitive, they do a decent job at building characters. They're not building great characters, mind you, but serviceable enough for this type of flick. I don't really wanna go over the story too much, I'm honestly not that much in the mood, but my favorite part of the movie would definitely have to be the third act. Let's just say that John and Heather's youngest gets kidnapped by this Hat Man and for John to get his son back he has to offer a sacrifice. You can imagine the sacrifice that required. But what I liked actually comes after that sacrifice and that is when John returns home and he believes he'll be reunited with his family. He talks to his wife and eldest son and they don't react. Something is obviously up here. Just before the movie ends, you're shown that John is now a 'shadow person' that his wife notices just out of the corner of her eye. I actually liked this little 'twist' here. You're really given no reason or explanation as to how the Hat Man turns this sacrifice into his own shadow person, but given everything you know about the movie, I do think it fits. It doesn't add much to the movie, I'm still giving this 2 stars, but I liked it regardless. Honestly, this movie has some intriguing concepts that they just do nothing with, its horror is nonexistent, the acting is decent enough. Liking the twist and finding some of the character work later on in the film to be better than what it was before doesn't mean that I thought this was any good. Or even that I thought it was decent. I just felt the whole thing to add up to a watchable, but totally inessential, flick.
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