Glen Ellyn native Amy Carlson stellar in derivative, demonic horror tale

  • Wendy (Glen Ellyn native Amy Carlson) finds out her new house is possessed in "Know Fear."

    Wendy (Glen Ellyn native Amy Carlson) finds out her new house is possessed in "Know Fear." Courtesy of Terror Films and Film Valor

Posted3/11/2021 6:00 AM

"Know Fear" - ★

We all know the devil is in the details, right?


In the horror tale "Know Fear," apparently a demon is. And he likes to mess them up.

"Know Fear" relies on two of the genre's laziest horror cliches: the hand-out-of-nowhere-grabbing-someone's-shoulder and the simulated heartbeat pounding on the soundtrack.

We also get other standard-issue conventions.

Lights flicker. Noises come from the walls and ceiling. Unseen entities drag screaming people across the floor. Electric power fails. Cellphones don't function.

Conveniently, demonic spirits haven't figured out how to shut off those newfangled things called flashlights, so the four people trapped in a haunted house can at least get around in the basement with its creepy mannequin.

The opening of "Know Fear" instantly telegraphs that we will be in for 78 minutes of gore and tepid jump-scares over slow-fused, nerve-jangling suspense.

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After we witness the grisly demise of one family, another family later purchases their house, unaware of the previous killings.

New owners Wendy (Glen Ellyn native Amy Carlson) and Donald (David Alan Basche) move in with their niece Jami (Mallory Bechtel) and nephew Charlie (Jack DiFalco), just in time for Wendy to discover a strange book written in Latin code and activated by blood drops.

In short order, Wendy begins screaming hysterically, reciting ancient chants, seeing things, and cooking her hand along with some hamburger in a skillet.

In this movie's single inventive twist, young Jami assumes the role of the Authoritative Expert, usually an aging professor, priest or mysteriously knowledgeable stranger.

She knows that three people are needed to identify and destroy the demon in their midst. One who can see the demon, one who can hear the demon, and one who can speak in demonese. All that comes with a bunch of other rules that sound like the fine print on a satanic contract.


"Know Fear" comes from director and co-writer Jamison M. LoCascio, known mostly for his work on film shorts and documentaries.

He and co-writer Adam Ambrosio liberally sprinkle their perfunctory screenplay with blandly functional dialogue ("This whole house gives me the creeps!") and two comically quick recoveries from severe wounds caused by an electric drill and a butcher knife.

Nonetheless, kudos should be given to these actors, each one of whom delivers a fully committed performance deserving of a much better showcase for their talents.

Especially Carlson. The former "Blue Bloods" star's honest and direct approach to Wendy elevates a big chunk of "Know Fear," a lowbrow exercise in uninspired, simplistic manipulation.

• • •

Starring: Amy Carlson, Mallory Bechtel, David Alan Basche, Jack DiFalco, Meeya Davis

Directed by: Jamison M. LoCascio

Other: A Terror Films and Film Valor production. On demand. Not rated by the MPAA; contains adult language and gory violence. 78 minutes

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