Fear(s) of the Dark is a collection of four stories that have nothing in common with each other, not even the animation style because they’re all drawn in different ways.
The stories are separated by a sort of internal monologue of a woman voicing her fears out loud to a background of abstract black and white moving images. All of the stories are illustrated in black and white, with some mild touches of colour here and there, but mostly black and white. Here is a quick look at the four stories.
The Ant People
Or at least that’s how I call this segment; this one is just plain weird, I could try to tell you what it’s about but I would just be wasting your time because it’s that weird, trying to tell you about it would be redundant; you need to see it in order to appreciate the full impact of its weirdness. Interesting to keep an eye on the animation style in this one, since throughout the segment, the shading on the characters and objects never changes during a scene.
The Ghost Samurai
A little bit more normal, the ghost of a samurai possesses the new girl at a school, she kills her mother, the whole story is told through the medium of flashback/dream state induced by a crazy-looking doctor. Nothing of note about the animation style in this one, except that this is the one where we see some colours.
Second best story in the movie, animation has a great hand-drawn look to it which helps to set the correct mood for this story. It’s the story of a village that has some problems with an unknown creature lurking in the nearby swamps, with a bit of a twist at the end it’s the first really interesting story. This one is really worth a watch.
The Man in the House
By far the best story in the whole movie; it’s about a man who breaks into an abandoned house during a storm. This story uses a lot of black and very little white to great effect in showing us the man on his trek through the dark house, where he builds a fire, finds a bottle of wine and a very interesting photo album. While looking at the album he falls asleep, and from now on we can’t trust what happens and what we see since it can be argued that all of it is his imagination.
I would just suggest that you watch the movie from the half-way mark if it weren’t for the extra piece of animation that is sprinkled throughout the movie. The movie actually starts with a part of it. A rotoscoped animation featuring a man dressed in 18th century attire walking four of the nastiest dogs ever. Every time he appears on screen he lets a dog escape and some implied or less implied violence ensues since the dogs kill a child, a worker, a dancer and finally the man himself. These are the most disturbing parts of the whole movie and I have no idea what they’re supposed to mean; there are four dogs and four stories but more than that I can’t get my head around.
In conclusion, although it wasn’t by far as scary as I would’ve hoped, it is worth a watch for the last two stories and the man with the dogs interludes.
Also as the title implies, the whole movie is in French.