*“Happiness” is about a lonely young woman, holed up in her apartment with a broken leg in a cast after the taxi cab she was a passenger in hit a fellow sending the vehicle flipping. She begins communicating with a guy she believes discovered her on a social media site. However, she will soon learn that her current residence has a significance as does her relationship with the person texting her. When she is unable to see his picture, as he claims to be in the room with her, this young woman begins to fear for her life. “100 days”, “cramped space”, a cell phone in a casket, a picture on a cell that eventually unveils two faces, a flight off a balcony, a serious car wreck replayed, and lights going out throughout the apartment complex all lead to quite a conclusion when the woman and the person she’s texting eventually “meet”. “Happiness” is a neat little tale utilizing the cell phone, texting, and the desire to satiate loneliness, with a grim result.
|Tit for Tat|
*“Tit for tat” is a raucous, high energy, hyper-kinetically edited and photographed revenge tale where a wronged bullied kid uses a demon curse against a gang of no-good dopeheads, with violent results. Because the kid on the bicycle wanted his notebook back (taken by the bullies), the gang was caught with weed in their bookbag. Suspended as a result, they seek to really rough him up, which includes pummeling him unmercifully, and eventually dropping him out of a moving truck bed! So he decides to swap pain for pain…except he also suffers when they all converge in a junk room in the school attic. Once the curse is ignited, no one involved with the bullying will be spared. The demons are a grotesque, ghoulish creation, CGI and barely visibly shown, while a fan in an old abandoned building that falls does some serious damage. I notice that it seems trips out of windows are a constant in “Phobia”. Gouged eyes at the end and a stab wound bleeding out on the school hall as kids scatter in horror are both part of the fun.
|In the Middle|
*The more comic (…but still rather spooky in parts) “In the Middle” concerns four pals camping and white water river rafting. Joking about their fate (depending on who sleeps where in the tent) and how if one of them died the unlucky person would return to haunt the dude sleeping in the middle are essential ingredients in whether or not this tale works at all as a humorous and eerie bit of nonsense. The emergence of a drowned victim and how he scares the shit out of his friends who eventually try to get away from him (and his appearance as he’s wet, pallid in color, somnambulant, and soon looking quite dead) is what “In the Middle” is all about. Lots of mainstream films like “Sixth Sense”, “Titanic”, and “The Others” (“The Others” in particular is a clever joke) are mentioned in the dialogue of the young men. The twist left me quite amused.
*The final tale, “Last Fright” is all about how a stewardess faces guilt and fear as her affair with a famed princess’ husband comes back to haunt her…literally. This tale was my favorite of the four as it is, to me, the creepiest. A good deal of what made this effective for me was the emphasis on the stewardess and her confronting the possible spirit of a woman she hurt physically and emotionally, ultimately leading to her own undoing. Is the princess, wrapped in mummy bandages, really out to get the stewardess or is it all in her head due to guilt, with her succumbing to the fright pervasively terrorizing her? The storm, turbulence, and dark that affects the plane while the body of the princess (as a result of the stewardess purposely using shrimp to cause her an allergic reaction that eventually kills her) is being flown to her own country adds atmosphere to the internal nightmarish struggle existing within the stewardess. Use of the wrapped body and how it looks to be alive at times also added weight in the nightmare of the stewardess. To me, “Last Fright” was a fine spookshow.
I think “Phobia” had enough with each tale to be of interest to fans of the horror anthology. There are so many, there’s no disputing that, but we anthology fans can’t seem to get enough of them. I do believe “Phobia” merits deserved search by such fans. While there might be some similar aspects, each tale has enough different about it as not to ever produce that repetition and déjà vu feeling. Try to find “Phobia”…I think the search will produce satisfying results.