By David Dent
Doctor Sanders (Charles Chudabala), an expert in the behavioural sciences, invites a number of people to one of his weekend retreats in his house by the lake in Wisconsin.
Sanders specialises in treating people with phobias, or irrational fears, and this particular weekend he’s joined by assistant Zach (Baker Chase Powell) who has been successfully cured of his fear of ghosts (and I’m not quite sure how that phobia worked). The rest of the intake comprises Taylor (Leah Wiseman), who doesn’t like to be touched, Cameron (Mathias Blake) who has a fear of being choked, Kelly (Jennifer Nangle), who is seriously weight and looks conscious, Helen (Cati Glidewell) with an irrational fear of water but not alcohol, germ obsessed Jake (Kaleb Shorey) and Nate (Tom McCarthy) who has severe dental anxiety. What a bunch!
The first evening with the group all together does not end well: Kelly and Helen get into a fight, resulting in Kelly leaving the retreat in her car. But something odd happens to Kelly while driving away: she embarks on a food binge while behind the wheel and her mouth fills with a black ooze, causing her to crash her car.
The next morning Taylor goes for a morning walk only to be grabbed by hands that spring out of the earth and drag her underground. The rest of the group realise that something is seriously wrong; an entity seems to be feeding on their phobias. Fingers slowly point towards the relentlessly upbeat Doctor Sanders – what is the secret he’s hiding?
Hunter Johnson’s rough round the edges (and ok rough in the centre too) movie redeems itself by having an unusual monster (the gloop’s the key) and some divertingly hysterical performances, particularly Chudabala’s unhinged Sanders character. Sometimes the movie feels like a bit of a tussle between issue-of-the-week drama and creature feature, and there’s an awful lot of people shouting at each other, but it’s fun while it lasts and a good reminder that we’ve all got stuff going on that’s a bit weird.
Watch the trailer for Irrational Fear below –