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The Dare

USA / Bulgaria / UK 2020
produced by
Yariv Lerner, Julian Kostov for B2Y Productions, Nu Boyana Film Studios
directed by Giles Alderson
starring Bart Edwards, Richard Brake, Richard Short, Alexandra Evans, Robert Maaser, Mitchell Norman, Harry Jarvis, Daniel Schutzmann, Devora Wilde, Oliver Cunliffe, Alexander Biehn, George Pilsworth, Maddy Bryan, Lelia Yvetta, Emily Haigh, Ethan Hazzard, Flynn Matthews, Annabelle Pinkston, Samantha Fries, Ivan "Bappy" Ivanov
written by Giles Alderson, Jonny Grant, music by Mario Grigorov

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Jay Jackson (Bart Edwards) is pretty much your disappointingly boring everyman, a loving husband and father who has a good job and a nice house in the suburbs - and suddenly he finds himself in a basement, chained to a wall, as are three strangers to him, Adam (Richard Short), Kat (Alexandra Evans) and more dead than alive Paul (Daniel Schutzmann), all just out of reach from him and one another. Apparently they're held captive by a masked brute (Robert Maaser) who takes pleasure in torturing them in the most gruesome and bizarre ways, including having them swallow cockroaches, cutting them up, nailing them to the wall and planting maggots in their eyes. At first, thee's no rhyme or reason to this, and it seems their captor is just a very sick sadist, but Jay is determined to make it out of the basement alive, and when he has exhausted all physical escape routes, he tries to solve the puzzle why the four of them are held captive here - and soon finds out they're not strangers at all but as kids (played by Oliver Cunliffe, Alexander Biehn, George Pilsworth, Maddy Bryan) were friends for a summer as their parents vacationed on the same camp ground, and a young boy called Dominic (Mitchell Norman) desparately tried to become their friend as well - but the quartet decided to play tricks on him and challenged him to one dare after the other, until they dared him to enter a creepy farmhouse ... where he disappeared. Turns out he had been taken captive by sadistic farmer Credence (Richard Brake) who "raised" him after his own image, and now Dominic wants to have his revenge on those who wronged him back when ...


I might just as well address the elephant in the room right away, yes this film has a lot in common with Saw, both in terms of premise and depiction of violence. But taken by its own terms, this is a very tense thriller, and while it might be hard to stomach for some for its occasional gruesomeness, it's also a pretty well-told, well-structured flick, and one that not only keeps one guessing throughout, but also one that in the third act blurs the lines between good and evil and presents the audience with quite a few surprises that were actually built up from early on. And a directorial effort that goes for more than just the jugular as well as a solid cast make this a pretty good watch - though it probably helps if you enjoy your horror with explicit violence on the side.


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD