Five short films with the theme of the five senses. Exploring the horrors of blindness, seeing horrific visions, music that kills you, a poisonous perfume and more.
Anthologies seem to still be going ham, something which started heavily a few years back. There are plenty of great classic anthologies, and based on those I call myself a fan of the idea, but the problem is that it's often a bunch of random shit thrown together. This anthology by Chiller Films is based on a theme, which makes it appealing to me. Many of them go for the idea of just bringing in random visceral shorts and so on, but "Chilling Visions: 5 Senses of Fear" is, as you can hear, five stories based around the senses.
"Smell" (directed by Nick Everhart) starts it off in an odd way - kinda like an Adam Sandler movie gone body horror. It's a bit more comedic than the rest, at least the beginning of it. It's essentially about a guy who buys perfume from a woman, and the perfume changes his life. He gets a promotion when the company is actually firing people and women all over wants him, can it get any better than that? Obviously not! And it doesn't. The perfume starts to melt his skin into some black glue. There's enough goo for a short, and it probably stands as one of the more interesting of the anthology.
"See" (directed by Miko Hughes) is an odd one. Half of it is interesting, but that half is also a total rip-off of Karim Hussain's segment "Vision Stains" in "The Theatre Bizarre". An eye doctor uses a device to take memories from people's eyes, and then takes them as drops into his own eyes to see them. In "Vision Stains" it's a more junkie approach, but also done a lot more twisted, and ultimately works better. The story continues with the doctor having a crush on a girl, and desperately wants her memories. One night he takes the eye drops and witnesses her being abused by her man, and the doctor wants to give him payback. Within this anthology, "See" is decent, but it's really suspicious how much it copies the segment from "The Theatre Bizarre". In the end, "See" and "Smell" are two of the better ones. It's pretty neat that the director is the kid from "Pet Sematary" among other titles though!
"Touch" (directed by Emily Hagins) takes place around a car accident where a blind kid has to find help for his parents. He wanders into the woods and stumbles upon a house filled with bodies, and he's soon chased by the crazy man who owns it. "Touch" is the segment with the least problems, but it's unfortunately the most boring one. The other ones go to more strange places, so ultimately this is just a typical thriller. It just happens to be the one with the least issues that annoys, and even has a pretty decent child actor playing blind.
"Taste" (directed by Eric England - director of "Contracted" which we reviewed last year) doesn't work within the theme, if you ask me. It's about a guy applying for a strange job, and going to visit a woman for the interview. When he turns the job down, she puts on a device which looks like the mouth/face-trap from "Saw 2", and then starts eating him (don't even start saying this is where "taste" comes in, it's not enough). It gets fairly gory from there. It's cheesy, pretty stupid, but probably entertains more than the rest.
Finally we have "Listen" (directed by Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton), one that had the potential of being the best segment, but is definitely executed into something silly and annoying. Two filmmakers get the job to find a song which supposedly kills people, and try and put it together in its full, listenable state. Not a bad idea at all, but it's extremely cheesy, has a mockumentary style that isn't needed, and its somewhat bloody finale just becomes a laughing matter.
Since it was shot back-to-back, pretty much, and has its theme a similar vibe goes through the entire thing and that makes it consistent. They also have a few characters come back into other segments to further place them in the same universe. Small things like that makes this a better idea than most anthologies, and they certainly seemed to have more reason to go this route.
"Chilling Visions: 5 Senses of Fear" has a theme which is great, but sometimes it can't even deliver on that promise. It's not the worst anthology out there as most of the filmmakers involved are capable of putting together solid productions, and that goes all the way from acting to the special effects. Unfortunately they never manage to intrigue, entertain, titillate, disturb or scare, which means it doesn't have that much to offer a person somewhat familiar with horror and anthologies in particular. There are more enjoyable anthologies and short film collections out there so put these 93 minutes into looking for some of the great ones. When you've watched those and want more, then "Chilling Visions: 5 Senses of Fear" would be decent enough.