Agoraphobia (2015)

After inheriting her father’s house, an agoraphobic moves into the house for the continuation of her treatment. As she settles in, something unsettling starts happening in the house.

Written and directed by Lou Simón, Agoraphobia mixes the titular issue with the paranormal to good effect. The film takes place in one house and makes great use of the location, including some great shots that set up the right way to create atmosphere and effect. The film has a low budget and doesn’t let it affect the story, using the unseen to the best of its possibilities. Here, Simón takes something very real and recognized and mixes it with something some find to be not so (while others believe it’s real) making a film that hits home for anyone having been stuck inside at any point, agoraphobia or not. Something that is very timely coming out now even though it’s a few years old and took a while to come out.

In the lead, Cassandra Scerbo shows that she has a good grasp of what it may be like to battle agoraphobia while also showing signs of courage and vulnerability in the right mix. Her work here is important as everything revolves around her and she often is on her own to react to everything. She guides the film’s tone and the entire story with her acting, so her work is central here. She thankfully gives the kind of performance that sells the story and makes the film work. One of the cast members most will be looking for is Tony Todd and he does good work, but seems a bit too understated at times. This is a man with a great screen presence and here he feels like he’s holding back.

The cinematography by Stephen Brevig helps create not only the atmosphere and some sense of dread, but also scenes that look great and really help with getting and keeping the attention. There is an attention to detail and a good use of the location to make this not just a film with atmosphere, but also create some images that are interesting to look at.

Agoraphobia is a film that took years to come to US screens and it seems to have happened for a reason, bringing a film about a woman stuck in her house while most of us are stuck in our houses and have been for the last year or so, creating a sort of comfort with no going out. This makes this film quite timely while maintaining its interest. The film does work as a scary one when you consider the fact that the lead is agoraphobic and there is something else going on, giving the viewers some really effective scenes peppered throughout.