Cycle of Fear

Cycle of Fear is an indie horror from first time director Manuel H. Da Silva. I see a lot of first time independent horror films and the vast majority are cheap and shoddy in terms of production, poorly written, badly directed and feature terrible amateur acting. This supernatural thriller fails to leap out of the pack despite some nice make-up work.

The story centres on Tabetha the sole survivor of a group of fourteen teens who went missing a year ago. The trouble is she can't remember anything and so they've stuck her in a mental institution. An evil demon called Azeziel is searching for her and killing everyone he talks to along the way. To make matters worse she has an ancient witch on her tail as well so it's a relief when her presumed dead friend Samantha turns up and seems to know what is going on. It turns out they are all looking for a book which is hidden in a chest and Tabetha has the key. They team up with a male nurse called Jay.

The story is really poor and unnecessarily complicated, they are actually seeking a codex which is in the book which is in a chest which she has the key for. Why they all turn up at once is a bit of a mystery. The witch is supposed to have been killed years before but she seems to be happily wondering around murdering people with a lazy winged demon in tow and then there's Azeziel who appears to be an old friend of Tabetha's at first but is actually a murderous demon with his own plans.

The plot probably isn't that hard to follow what makes it really tough is the battle against boredom. There are loads of different characters and all of them are poorly acted so there's no-one to root for. The set-up in the mental institution with Tabetha puzzling over her crudely drawn pictures trying to remember what happened is horribly clichéd. Most of the murders are dull and badly acted and the whole production feels gloomy and downbeat.

The best thing about the film is the make-up; the creepy witch and her demon look great. The death scenes and gore are obviously cheap but effective enough, the real problem is that the whole thing is so badly acted you never believe the action. The direction is competent although the film looks very dark in places. The sound is mostly passable but there are times when the dialogue is tough to hear.

Ultimately this was tough to sit through, the tag line is "There is no end" and I have to admit that thought scared me but luckily things wrapped up after the standard hour and a half.

Reviewed by Simon Hill

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