Making the adjustment from living in a big city to moving to a small town in the country can be a little overwhelming, but that's just what Pastor Dan (James Tupper), his wife Wendy (Anne Heche), and their three kids Rebecca (Rebekah Brandes), Mary (Jennifer Stone), and Christopher (Carter Cabassa) are currently in the middle of as they relocate to Stull, Kansas where Dan plans on filling in the shoes for the retiring Pastor Kingsman (Clancy Brown). Rebecca suddenly finds herself infatuated with a boy named Noah (Ethan Peck) whose strange behavior only seems to intrigue and attract her to him even more. Soon Rebecca starts having bizarre yet vivid dreams and Mary comes down with an illness that she can't seem to get rid of. As Mary's condition begins to worsen, it becomes clear that the town of Stull has chosen this family as a sacrifice for a ritual they've performed many times before.
Glancing at the Blu-ray cover for "Nothing Left to Fear," you expect another run of the mill direct-to-DVD horror film when in fact the film may be a bit more detrimental to the horror genre than it leads on. From the very beginning you can detect shades of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "The Wicker Man," but then the film ventures off into unexplored territory. Take a minute to let that soak in. A horror movie that isn't foreign, didn't get a wide theatrical release, and that mostly went undetected by just about everyone until now actually offers something fresh that we haven't seen recycled over and over again in the cookie cutter horror that gets dropped into theaters every year. This should be like winning the lottery for horror fans, but "Nothing Left to Fear" has a bitter, dissatisfying, and clunky center that it's never able to overcome.
You notice little details as the story progresses. Rebecca's dreams, especially the sheep dream, are fairly extraordinary. The cinematography is particularly well done for a film that was seemingly just dropped onto movie shelves. The camera work seems to flourish most out in open spaces; out in the trees or climbing stairs to a tower in the middle of nowhere. There is this brilliant transition at the end of the film involving the sun and the sky that literally bridges the big climactic sequence to the final scene in the film.
Mary's transformation is the big selling point though. The special effects are very touch and go, which you'll either find surprisingly decent or completely loathe with really no middle ground in between. The blackness that seeps through the ground and every surface Mary touches is interesting to watch at times, but kind of confusing. It takes on several different shapes and consistencies; sometimes being like a mist or rolling fog, other times it's a thick liquid like tar, and finally it's like a living shadow that absorbs everything it touches. Some of the creature effects are practical that include prosthetics, but most of it is very obviously computer animated and looks a little cheap at times.
Regrettably though, "Nothing Left to Fear" isn't able to follow through with the potential it's only able to slightly tinker with rather than completely molding it into something of its own. Nothing in the film is explained very well. While it's easy to piece a few things together as they happen (there's a possession and a demonic transformation after all), you comprehend more after reading the summary on the back of the Blu-ray cover than you do after watching the entire film. The cast also seems to mostly be a waste. Anne Heche, other than showing fear in a single scene, otherwise delivers a disposable performance. While Clancy Brown is mostly forgettable despite usually being one of the highlights of any project he chooses to be a part of.
There's a uniqueness to "Nothing Left to Fear" that gets your hopes up, but by the time it's over the metaphorical throat of those hopes has been slit from ear to ear. The film seems to make a mockery of you as you figuratively bleed out and a new song from Slash plays over the end credits. "Nothing Left to Fear" can't just take pride in being a bad horror film. It tries to pull the ol' switcheroo on its audience and even throws in a few tasty leads including an impressively monstrous creature you're unable to predict, a fascinating story that seems to be taking a new and untraveled path, and surreal yet beautiful visuals. But the trail eventually runs very cold very fast and all you're left with is your limp manhood in your hand and no satisfaction.
Special features on the Blu-ray include audio commentary from Producer/Composer Slash, Composer Nicholas O' Toole, and director Anthony Leonardi III and a 16-minute Behind the Scenes featurette that mostly focuses on Slash, the cast, and producers having conversations about discovering the town to shoot the film in, securing the cast, finding a director, and the creature effects.