“DEFARIOUS”— An Experience in Fear


An Experience in Fear

Amos Lassen

Chase Michael Pallante’s short film, “Defarious” introduces us to Amy (Janet Miranda), a young woman suffering from nightmares that are so terrible that she finds it difficult to distinguish between them and the real world. Reminiscent of horror film from the 1980s, Amy suffers not only from nightmares but also from visions of her dead mother and the line between dream and reality is blurred for most of the eleven minutes of the film. In her latest nightmare she was she was threatened by clown like villain, Defarious (Jason Torres), and this leaves her so upset that she wants to call a friend but she is unable to find her cell phone and she hears glass breaking even though she is alone at home. As she looks around she finds the character from her dream but sense that there is no waking up this time. She understands that he has come to kill her.

What is so fascinating is that in a short eleven-minute scene that is little more than a standard horror scene, this one is told with such style that the viewer is totally into what he/she sees and even though it is very simple, we are totally involved.

Director Pallante uses visual imagery and keeps the pace of his film at just where he wants it to be thus providing a view filled with the macabre and foreboding. The cinematography is shades of blue that expresses a sense of cold that makes this look surreal and brings fear to the audience. There is little dialogue and we do not know the motivations for what we see and there is virtually no exposition. It is up to us to figure out what is really happening.

In a very short amount of time, Pallante tells a short yet comprehensive story with no gimmicks and we seem to enter Amy’s mind and experience what she feels. The villain is terror, personified coming out of the shadows as something of a shadow himself even though he is totally apart from them and singular. When we see him in total, his eyes appear to be alien and coming from hell and he completely unnerves Amy and the viewer.

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