Alex Davidson’s 2023 horror movie Spirit of Fear is based on a strange concept where a man has to research clues to understand why he’s trapped inside a house. Although parts of it might remind us of the 1997 science-fiction horror Cube, Spirit of Fear falls short exponentially in comparison to the former. Shot on what seems like a shoestring budget, the movie stars Christopher Lee Page as the protagonist and the only character we see for the majority of the film. Although marketed as horror, the film is severely lacking in any such elements. Here’s a breakdown of the film for you to decide whether you should watch it or not.
What Does Chris Find In His Surroundings?
A man jolts out of his sleep, possibly out of a nightmare, and is even more terrified to find his left hand drenched in blood. The man, namely Chris, rushes to the bathroom and starts washing his hand, only to realize the blood isn’t his. Moreover, there’s a sticky note on the mirror that warns him not to stay too long in the bathroom. Chris goes downstairs and keeps finding more such warnings strewn across the strangely empty house, which gives off a sinister aura. Some of the warnings alert him not to go down the basement or venture outside. Another note is found in a child’s room, part of which is missing. Chris has a hard time making sense of any of the things that he witnesses in the house, including the multiple notes, a child’s wristband, a locked safe, and a demon mask stored in the fridge, among other oddities.
Chris tries challenging the warnings and sits in the bathroom for a little while, only for a ghostly entity to start rising from the bathtub against the shower curtain. He flees the bathroom and lands in the child’s room, only to find a doll that speaks when pressed. Trying to make sense of the strange situation, he ventures outside as well, although he returns very soon. However, he notices the words “I am here,” spelled out of cutlery on a table when he comes back. There’s a bloody handprint on a frame, and he turns to find a mirror. The phone rings, and when he picks it up, there’s a beastly growl on the other side, forcing Chris to hang up. He also finds a locked cabinet in the child’s room, and it needs a key to be opened. There are many more such mind-boggling events that keep occurring that make the man question whether he’s losing his mind.
Trying to brace his fears, Chris heads down to the basement to see what’s in there, only to find a locked box. He can’t open the box, but he feels deep unease in the basement and has to run away. He goes upstairs and finds a lot of toys, but the one that draws his attention is the talking doll that says “Daddy” in a little girl’s voice and shocks Chris. There’s an old projector in the living room that starts playing a video of a family barbecue, where Chris can be seen fighting with his wife and getting violent. He immediately turns it off when he feels there’s an entity chasing him.
How Does Chris Gather The Clues?
In the basement, he finds a mirror, and he’s shocked to find his reflection looking back, but it’s not him after all. The reflection tries attacking Chris before he smashes the mirror to uncover two verses scratched on the back of the wall. Upon going through a Bible, he finds a portion of the page has been torn, and he needs to find that portion to complete the latter part of the puzzle. He goes back to the basement, but this time he writes “do it for them” on his arm, where the ‘them’ are his wife and daughter. In the basement, he finds the torn piece of the Bible on the rim of the bathtub, where his wife is crying while an entity stands in the corner, covered in a white bedsheet. The entity catches up to Chris the moment he grabs the page, but he somehow manages to run away from the basement. Connecting that piece of the page to the Bible reveals to him the verse in Timothy about the “spirit of fear.” Using the two verses he’d seen on the wall as codes, he unlocks the safe to find a key to the locked cabinet.
The key opens a music box, into which a piece of paper is folded. This paper tells Chris that it’s his house, and he needs to get rid of the uninvited entity. Chris goes downstairs to find the creature lying on a table with a cloth covering it. As Chris demands of the entity to leave his house, there’s violent shaking in the creature, but it grabs him by the arm when he nears it. However, moments before it’s about to show its face, he remembers why he was doing all this and bellows at the creature to leave them alone.
Does Chris Get Rid Of The Demon Haunting Him?
Chris, finally being able to stand up to the demon, makes the demon release its hold on him, and he’s able to wake up to find two priests near him with a Cross in hand. Since Chris was able to realize that the heart isn’t one of fear but of power, courage, and love for near ones, his heart was filled with righteous courage that allowed him to escape the possession he was under. Apparently, the entire duration of the movie was inside Chris’s mind because he had been possessed by some supernatural entity, and it was only through realizing that the Bible doesn’t encourage a spirit to be fearful that he was able to escape his possession.
Chris finds his wife with a bruised lip, explaining that he’d hit her while possessed, but she forgives him when she realizes that he hadn’t been her husband, but a person possessed by an entity. Outside, he meets his daughter, who’s initially unsure but eventually recognizes her father and leaps into his arms. As Chris carries her inside, we see the wristband Chris had found inside the house early on, on her wrist.
To be honest, Spirit of Fear feels like a horror survival game. There’s only one character with the bare minimum of dialogue, and he needs to find clues by exploring every portion of the house and uncover a massive secret before time runs out or the creature gets to him. The collection of clues and the trope of escaping before the monster grabs Chris quickly gets repetitive, driving away any anticipation or excitement the plot could’ve brought. For the longest time, there’s been no element of fear or horror in Spirit of Fear other than the raspy breathing of the said creature. By the time Chris figures out what to do, the movie has reached almost its very end, and even then, we don’t see any real monster, but just a charred hand that grabs Chris’ arm, which could probably explain why there was blood on his hand initially.
However, the haphazard manner of direction, the extreme lack of context, and the absence of explanation as to how Chris was possessed, why his wife called exorcists, and what the demon was after make the story very convoluted. Spirit of Fear would have been enjoyable as a video game for a one-time play, but as a movie, it quickly loses track and goes every which way.