If the trailer for Phobias is any indication of what the movie has in store for its audience, it’s shaping up to be one fun ride. This one seems to have it all: an evil government program, a mad scientist doctor, and a handful of unsuspecting victims. It seems a pretty obvious plot when you press those pieces together, but in case that’s unclear: a government scientist looks to weaponize the paralyzing fears of a group of extremely fearful people that fit the diagnostic criteria of specific medical phobias
So, what’s going on in this trailer? Honestly, it looks a bit scattered and given there are multiple stories that makes a lot of sense. Phobias, outwardly, appears to be a completely unified film but in actuality, it is more of the anthology variety. The beginning of the trailer focusing on hacker Leonardo Nam (Westworld) running from electronic devices in what I can only suspect is Joe Sill’s Robophobia segment and has me very excited given Sill’s Autonomous short from last year. Elsewhere in the trailer the brief images of Hana Mae Lee (The Babysitter) can be seen being attacked in a car and Macy Gray (Training Day) looks ready to do some meat tenderizing, all the while the characters are also trying to escape an underground laboratory.
The tension the trailer mounts throughout is fantastically high and that is thanks to five up-and-coming directors: Joe Sill (Stray), Maritte Lee Go, Jess Varley, Chris Von Hoffman (Monster Party), and Camilla Belle (star of the 2006 remake When a Stranger Calls in her directorial debut). Looking to shock and scare you through five clinical fears, Phobias presents stories pertaining to multiple phobias. Hoplophobia is a strong unjustifiable avoidance of weapons as opposed to the people who wield them. Vehophobia is fear of driving; people who try to get behind the wheel usually experience crippling anxiety likely caused by PTSD to an accident. Robophobia is a fear of robots or automated devices. Atelophobia is perfectionism or the fear of making a mistake that causes one to do absolutely nothing instead. And, finally, Ephebiphobia or a fear of youth often associated with a severe hatred for teenagers. I’m a big fan of horror anthology films and Phobias is showing promise to be placed among some of the best, or at least I have high hopes for it anyway.
Phobias will be released on VOD on March 19.