I was surprised that I hadn’t heard of the Scream Team Releasing film, Force To Fear (2020), before now, especially after seeing how many familiar names and faces were involved. When the Blu-ray became available this past summer, it popped up onto my radar, and I knew I had to see this action horror thriller.
Two kidnappers, a dealer, a group of college kids, and a killer converge in an abandoned school. Once they cross paths, chaos ensues, and it’s a race to survive the night.
Force to Fear was written, produced, and directed by The Barn’s (2016 – read our review here) Zane Hershberger (read our interview with him here) and Chad Bruns (CarousHELL 2016 – read our review here). Hershberger also acted as DoP, foley artist, and fight coordinator, while Bruns took on the additional role of camera operator. They brought along another familiar face from The Barn, Justin M. Seaman (read our interview with him here) as a producer and camera operator. 10/31 franchise filmmaker Rocky Gray (read our interviews with him here, here and here) worked with Hexercise’s Matt Cannon AKA Lapses (read our interview with him here) to compose the score and soundtrack. Robert Lanphere (The Barn, 10/31 Part 2) created both the visual and practical effects for the film.
The cast includes even more familiar faces, including Sable Griedel (10/31 1 & 2, The Barn II), Ginny Griedel (The Barn Part II), Sé Marie (CarousHELL), The Barn’s Mitchell Musolino (read our interview with him here), Ted Opalinski (Castle Rock TV series), Joseph Setticase (Homicide Hunter TV series), April Yanko (The Campaign For Camelot TV series), Nexus Lyons (Famously Afraid TV series), George Saulnier (I Had Fun 2015), and newcomer Arjun Kumar.
The film starts off with a high energy ’80s kick, complete with a pop synth wave score and a Miami Vice-like neon laser credit font. The look of the costumes follows suit, especially with the college kids, some of whom looked like they came straight from seeing The Cramps with Demon from Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning (1985 – read our retro review here). I am especially impressed with both Chad Bruns as Socks and Sable Griedel as Nova. The two bring their A game to this film. Bruns has perfect comedic timing, and I truly believe that Griedel spent her time actually ticked off at the world during this entire shoot. She is that good. I love that The Target (Opalinski) just walked into rooms and started fighting. There is no wasting time sneaking around for him. He wants to get straight to it. I don’t blame him, considering some of the cool weapons he has hidden in his tactical armor. My favorites are the garrote, the arm mace, and the wrist knife. He’s like Batman: The Bad Guy. The others have some pretty cool things up their sleeves as well (literally and figuratively), like a pair of mean brass knuckles that make their way around to almost every character. You never know when they will pop up next.
The story of Force to Fear takes place in an abandoned school. You can actually see happy cartoons and stickers stuck to the walls to remind you that innocence and learning once took place here. Knowing this makes what goes on in the film all the more nefarious. I can’t wrap up the What Works section without mentioning the fight scenes. Color me impressed! Everyone is punching and kicking, dodging baseball bats and rubber bullets. I can’t imagine the time and effort it took to not only choreograph these scenes, but for the actors to learn the moves and run the scenes over and over again until they got them right. I truly applaud the cast and crew for not only taking this hugely physical aspect on but also going so far to make it work. I am exhausted just watching you guys.
What Doesn’t Work
While I do realize that Force to Fear is an action horror thriller, I did think that the fight scenes were a bit too long. Maybe I’m just being picky, because action films are not my nerd. But I admit that I was a little bored during the fight scenes. Like I mentioned above, I do fully appreciate the wonderful choreography and the work it must have taken to put these dances together, but they seem to go on slightly longer than they should.
The word “horror” is used to describe this film, but I honestly don’t see anything that doesn’t fit under the “action” or “thriller” label, which is a bit of a disappointment to this genre nerd. I also wish Mitchell Musolino had had a more meaty role. I love him in The Barn, and I was excited to see him spread his wings in Force to Fear. He is excellent here, but I look forward to seeing him sharpen his teeth a bit more in other projects.
Included in the Blu-ray release of Force to Fear from Scream Team Releasing are audio commentaries, cast interviews, bloopers, fight training videos, a teaser trailer, a look behind the scenes, and the IndieGoGo pitch video. Who doesn’t love audio commentaries? And bloopers? So awesome!
If you’re looking for an action packed mystery thriller to add to your watch list, you should grab a copy of Force to Fear. Just the fight scenes alone make this film worth it!