Nothing Left to Fear is the first horror film to be produced in part by Slasher Films, which was founded by Guns and Roses’ guitarist Slash. Anchored by Anchor Bay, itself a horror powerhouse, this film offers plenty of potential, but the direction and some of the performances keep it from becoming a first-rate film. However, the core idea behind Nothing Left to Fear is a good one, and although there have been previous films that have delved into said idea, personifying the essence of evil on screen is a novel idea.
Inspired supposedly by a true story that took place in Stull, Kansas (Stull is actually a real small “town”), Nothing Left to Fear was filmed in Louisiana and tells the story a pastor and his family who are moving from the big city to a small town. Pastor Dan (James Tupper) has been hired to replace retiring Pastor Kingsman (Clancy Brown, in an effective and understated performance) at a local church. Along with Dan are his wife Wendy (Ann Heche), daughters Mary (Jennifer Stone) and Rebecca (Rebekah Brandes), and son Chris (Carter Cabassa).
But Kingsman has no plans for retirement. Indeed, the poor pastor and the entire town are responsible to containing the essence of evil. You see, the town sits on an underground entrance to hell itself, and the devil (or whatever you wish to call it) once every year can breach the gate and spread itself throughout the world, causing great strife, pain, and chaos. To prevent it from escaping, Pastor Kingsman and the townspeople lure good families and sacrifice them to the evil, all in the interest of preserving the peace. An early metaphor for this is when Mary sees a local boy (Noah, played by Ethan Peck, Gregory Peck’s grandson) sacrifice a sheep. This metaphor continues throughout the movie.
The bulk of the film consists of poor Rebecca being possessed by the evil force and going on a rampage throughout the town, seeking out and destroying all her family members. Standing in her way are Noah (who may or may not be part of the conspiracy) and sister Mary. Although Mary survives beyond the final reel, her fate seals her doom, adding to the minor terror quotient of the film.
Directed by Anthony Leonardi III, Nothing Left to Fear suffers from amateur performances, lackluster direction, and over-the-top special effects. That said, the undercurrent of terror throughout the film is really good—it’s simply unfortunate that it wasn’t brought to the surface to fester. The first half of the film wallows in romantic melodrama, hinting that perhaps the town and its populace are not what they seem. Then comes the second half, where the possession takes place, and even here the action is relatively slow, with tension very much lacking. There are some nice touches (using lamb’s blood to ward off evil), but the movie never really gets going. And this is a shame, given that there are some good ideas here.
I was also impressed with Clancy Brown’s performance as Pastor Kingsman. Brown plays the man as deeply torn, realizing what he must do but seething with anger and pain at God because of it. His performance is so solid that others feel like amateurs when he interacts with them during the movie.
The movie’s special effects are interesting but not too horribly scary. There’s some blood and gore, but gorehounds will find that it just isn’t enough. The problem with modern horror films is their overreliance on CGI, and Nothing Left to Fear suffers this fate.
I can’t really recommend Nothing Left to Fear, but I will say that the producers were at least trying to make a novel horror movie. My recommendation would be that they use more seasoned actors and filmmakers, as the core of the story in Nothing Left to Fear had great potential. As far as execution, however, there really is nothing left to fear.