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Point of Fear

Point of Fear is an entertaining indie horror about a psychiatrist who specialises in curing people of their fears. When four teens decide to take a trip to the mountains of Pleasant Point they soon cross paths with the "Fear Doctor" and it seems he has problems of his own.

You never know what to expect with low-budget horror, there are a lot of derivative, badly films out there and it can be a bit of minefield for fans of the genre. Point of Fear has all the usual limitations but writer and director Brooks Benjamin makes the best of what he has.

The film opens with a creepy murder and then we cut to four friends agreeing to take a trip to a cabin in the mountains. When they arrive at Pleasant Point they read about the recent brutal murder in the local newspaper and about a local man named Dr Jamison who is dubbed the “Fear Doctor” because he specialises in curing people of their fears. The group goes hiking in the mountains and we learn that Melissa is afraid of heights, naturally she decides to pay Dr Jamison a visit and see if he can cure her fear.

Unfortunately for Melissa Dr Jamison is seriously losing the plot and in their first session together he freaks out and decides that she is his dead wife. The apparently calm and intelligent Dr Jamison quickly becomes an enraged wrestler and ties Melissa up. Meanwhile her friends are swimming in the lake and they over hear Dr Jamison meeting his next patient, or at least they overhear the unfortunate guy's screams as Dr Jamison's unique and extreme therapy turns into murder. They go to the local cops but the sheriff is less than understanding about their missing friend and they have a hard time convincing him something is wrong.

With low-budget films the acting is always a problem and Point of Fear does feel amateurish in places however the script is decent and the actors good enough that the story ticks along well and builds to a satisfying conclusion. Jason Benjamin plays Dr Jamison and he gives the best performance of the film switching between the calm toned psychiatrist and screaming psychotic wrestler at the drop of a hat. Austin Musick does a good job as Melissa, Linds Edwards is also good as her friend Mark and I liked the baldy tough guy Sheriff played by Steve Miller.

The direction is really good for a low budget movie, Benjamin gets the best out of the location and cast and manages to inject some brutality into the fight scenes and a sense of tension as Dr Jamison descends into full blown madness. There are no special effects and very little in the way of blood or gore but the raw anger of the "Fear Doctor" creates a visceral experience and the script includes some nice one liners and a decent level of believable dialogue.

When the first body turns up the Sheriff is finally convinced something is going on and by this time Melissa's friend Karen has also paid a visit to Dr Jamison with disastrous results. The action builds towards a violent climax as her remaining friends and the sheriff try to rescue her from the insane Doctor.

Point of Fear is a good solid film which should keep you entertained for just over an hour and half. A nice premise, decent acting and script and good direction elevate this effort above most low budget productions but not by much.

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