• Country: United States
  • Initial release: November 1, 2019 (United States)
  • Film Director: Lisbet Byler and Grace Wagner
  • Running Time: 4 Minutes
  • IMDB Grade: N/A

In 2019, the award-winning short film “Afraid” took audiences on a thrilling journey into the depths of fear and anxiety. Directed by Lisbet Byler and Grace Wagner, the film explores the anxieties faced by women in their everyday lives. With a gripping storyline and powerful performances, “Afraid” offers a unique perspective on the psychological struggles many individuals encounter. In this article, we will delve into the intriguing plot, the talented cast and crew, and the impact of this thought-provoking film.

The Plot: Confronting Inner Demons

“Afraid” centers around Anna, a young coffee shop manager, as she closes up for the night and heads to her car in a nearby parking garage. The film skillfully personifies Anna’s anxieties as a hooded figure, vividly portraying the mental battles she faces. As Anna navigates through the dark and isolated parking garage, her worst fears begin to manifest. The suspense builds as viewers are left wondering whether the hooded figure is real or a product of Anna’s imagination. The film’s ambiguous ending leaves audiences questioning the fine line between reality and perception.

Directors’ Statement: Shedding Light on Everyday Anxieties

Lisbet Byler and Grace Wagner, the first-time directors of “Afraid,” aimed to shed light on the anxieties women face on a daily basis. Their directorial statement emphasizes the intention to provide a realistic portrayal of these anxieties, which continue to persist in society. By personifying Anna’s fears as a hooded figure, the directors effectively capture the intensity and impact of these internal battles. “Afraid” serves as a poignant reminder that the struggles depicted in the film are not isolated incidents but rather a reflection of the experiences of many individuals.

Meet the Directors: Lisbet Byler and Grace Wagner

Lisbet Byler and Grace Wagner, the creative duo behind “Afraid,” are based in Lancaster, PA, where they work for MAKE films. With a shared passion for true crime podcasts and a love for dogs (especially dachshunds), the directors have formed a strong bond that translates into their collaborative work. Lisbet serves as the Studio & Marketing Manager, while Grace works as the Coordinating Producer at MAKE films. Together, they aspire to create films that leave a lasting impact, inspire audiences, and captivate viewers with their unique storytelling approach.

The Cast: Stellar Performances

Ashley Mellinger and Seth Bortner deliver powerful performances in “Afraid,” bringing the characters of Anna and the hooded figure to life. Mellinger portrays Anna, the coffee shop owner grappling with her fears and anxieties. Her nuanced portrayal captures the vulnerability and strength required to face one’s deepest fears. Bortner, on the other hand, embodies the enigmatic and haunting presence of the hooded figure, creating an atmosphere of suspense and tension throughout the film.

Behind the Scenes: Crafting a Gripping Horror Experience

The production of “Afraid” involved meticulous attention to detail to create a truly immersive horror experience. The visual style of the film, combined with the atmospheric setting of the parking garage, contributes to the overall creep factor. Although the film falls slightly short in building a consistently ominous atmosphere, it still manages to captivate viewers with its visual and auditory elements. The use of lighting, shadows, and sound design adds depth to the storytelling, enhancing the overall tension and fear-inducing moments.

Critical Reception: A Promising Debut

“Afraid” has garnered positive feedback, with viewers praising the performances and the thought-provoking concept. While the film may lack the atmospheric intensity to be truly terrifying, it successfully engages viewers with its unpredictable plot twists. The ending, although not entirely satisfying for some, leaves room for interpretation and sparks discussions on the nature of fear and perception. Overall, “Afraid” is a promising debut for Lisbet Byler and Grace Wagner, showcasing their talent for storytelling and their ability to elicit emotional responses from audiences.

1 Film Review

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  • “Afraid” offers a gripping exploration of fear and anxiety through the eyes of its protagonist, Anna. Lisbet Byler and Grace Wagner’s directorial debut showcases their ability to craft a suspenseful narrative and engage audiences with thought-provoking themes. The performances of Ashley Mellinger and Seth Bortner elevate the film, bringing depth and emotion to their respective characters. While “Afraid” may not fully capitalize on its atmospheric potential, it still manages to leave a lasting impact on viewers. As we delve into the depths of Anna’s fears, we are reminded of the complex nature of anxiety and the power of the human mind to shape our perception of reality.