Adapted from an early Clive Barker story, what should have been a terrifying and highly original film is a sordid mess of torture porn, conventional slasher film and trite teen melodrama. The fascinating story of a man obsessed with exploring the very nature of dread by experimenting on unwilling victims, in many ways a classic serial killer story but whose "serial killer" doesn't actually kill anyone, is reduced to a dull teen movie that owes more to the Hostel films than anything of real note.
The story is Boy meets boy. Except the boy that the boy meets turns out to be a lunatic, with a back story borrowed from a dozen eighties slasher films, who likes to confront victims with their worst fears. Tedious direction, murky photography, terrible dialogue, and the sort of soundtrack that I have come to expect from lesser films are all perfectly balanced by performances that allow a real dungeon movie like "It Waits" to look down on it. This no mean feat, but it is not to be applauded either.
However, in spite of the film's many shortcomings, what really grates is what a missed opportunity it is. The short story, Dread, is nightmarish, disturbing, and had an outrageous ending. Whilst the same could be said of film, Dread, unfortunately it would be for all the wrong reasons.