Review by Derrick Carter
Running Time: 1 hour 28 minutes
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Directed by: Nick Everhart, Miko Hughes, Emily Hagins, Eric England, Jesse Holland & Andy Mitton
Written by: Nick Everhart, Miko Hughes, Emily Hagins, Eric England, Jesse Holland, Andy Mitton & Jack Daniel Stanley
Starring: Corey Scott Rutledge, Ted Yudain, Doug Roland & Symba Smith
Chiller is pretty much the horror equivalent of the Syfy Channel. The concepts behind both networks are admirable and should be held up high. Due to crappy reruns of bad reality TV shows (among other things), both channels have become a joke. It certainly doesn’t help Chiller’s case that they keep acquiring rights to potentially cool projects and mucking them up with poor production values, bad directing, worse writing, and unconvincing effects. With 5 SENSES OF FEAR, Chiller takes a step into anthology territory and the results are mixed (a common case with most horror anthologies). Though one story is solid, the rest require are drags to get through. It all comes off as a rather cheap version of something like CREEPSHOW.
There is no wraparound connecting the stories, but some not-so-subtle connections can be found within each one. Each of the five segments is based on a sense of the human body and directed/written by an independent horror filmmaker. Some of these talents are clearly better than others, as shown by the differing quality of the stories. This experiment is an interesting one, but ultimately fails (much like another recent anthology, THE ABC’S OF DEATH) due to clear budget constraints and familiar formulas.
Sense #1: SMELL: This opener is about Scott Kyle, a depressed man who finds his luck changing after he receives a very special cologne. Impressed his future growing brighter, the man keeps using the impressive scent and begins to have some oozing side effects. This tale plays out like a so-so episode of TALES FROM THE CRYPT from the cheesy effects to over-the-top humor. The predictability and length of this story kill most of the momentum. The ending also relies on circular logic that presents some rather large unavoidable plot holes. C
Sense #2: SEE: Very familiar to a segment in another low-budget horror anthology (THE THEATRE BIZARRE), the second story follows an optometrist who jacks into his clients memories through an essence he steals from their eyes. When he witnessed one of his patients getting abused by her boyfriend, the mad doctor puts together a plan to teach the man a lesson…but not everything works out in anybody’s favor. Cheesy effects and laughable attempts at scares derail an already shoddily written story. This is a bad segment in this mediocre anthology, but the next story is even worse. D
Sense #3: TOUCH: This third story is, without a doubt, the worst of these 5 SENSES. A blind boy’s parents crash their car into the side of a deserted road. With his parents hurt, the boy treks out into the surrounding woods…only to find a greater danger. This segment was awful. Teenage director/writer Emily Hagins has shown promise in her past work (MY SUCKY TEENAGE ROMANCE), but this just came off like nobody was trying. It was an uninspired piece of would-be horror that had me rolling my eyes so much that they hurt and smacking my forehead so frequently there were bruises. The worst entry in the bunch is putting it lightly in the realm of short horror films. F
Sense #4: TASTE: A man is going into a strange job interview. The company is massive and the positions seem to hold real power, but they have a policy for those who refuse their job offers. You can see where this is going and I’ll leave it at that. This is a story that almost entirely builds up to one specific scene. That would be the climax of this tale and it’s pretty silly. I applaud the effort and there is an actual sense of tension building up until the point where things stray into the ludicrous. Eric England (the director of the lame slasher MADISON COUNTY, and the competent body-horror piece CONTRACTED) has an eye for making the most out of his limited resources. This segment has the best visuals of the bunch. It’s also the second-best story here, despite falling apart in the final minutes. C+
Sense #5: LISTEN: I truly hated Holland and Mitton’s experimental horror flick YELLOWBRICKROAD. It had a great premise but an absolutely terrible execution that wasted everything creepy. Their segment in 5 SENSES OF FEAR is also the concluding one and this is truly a testament of saving the best for last. Shot in found footage style, LISTEN feels more like it belongs as a story in V/H/S/3 rather than a contribution to this sub par TV movie. This tale follows two documentary filmmakers piecing together jumbled footage of a song that supposedly kills anybody who listens to it all the way through. Based on the legend of culling chants, I was floored by how monumentally creepy this one is. I wouldn’t mind seeing this tale stretched out to feature-length with more details added, but it does serve just as well as an unnerving short film. B+
5 SENSES OF FEAR really isn’t worth watching as a whole. LISTEN is the best story and TASTE is okay. SMELL, SEE, and TOUCH aren’t worth the trouble of sitting through. There’s a good chunk of film (about an hour) one has to tread through to get to the only two good stories of the total five. Those tales are worth viewing, but I can’t recommend subjecting your eyes and ears to what comes before them.