DUBAI: “Nyctophobia,” a new short psychological thriller from Emirati writer and director Tariq Al-Kazim, will screen in selected cinemas in February.
The film tells the story of Julia (played by Heba Al-Hamwi), a writer who has rented a secluded farmhouse in Al Ain to focus on her work. But it quickly becomes clear that she is not alone in the house — and all the doors are mysteriously locked.
Actor Robert Cristian Trif plays the man who is ‘sharing’ the space with Julia. In a press release, Trif said, “(I play) a disturbing man who tries to win over the woman, and plays with her mind. But ultimately we discover both our characters meet a cruel ending.” He added that it is his first time “playing in a horror film.”
Al-Kazim told Arab News that he has been a fan of horror movies since he was a child. “I used to watch movies like “IT” and “Psycho” and I was curious as to why they scared me. Since then I’ve been developing horror films as a way to create the same feelings I had watching those films.”
“Nyctophobia” (an extreme fear of darkness) is Al-Kazim’s 14th film, and the director told Arab News that the idea for this one came from personal experience.
“As a child I was scared of the dark and I wanted people to feel the same,” he said. “I had that feeling ever since I can remember. I used to turn on the lamps in the room before going to bed or had my mother leave the door slightly open with the lights beaming in. I overcame the fear slowly as I grew up, acknowledging that whether there was light or not, it didn’t make a difference.
“The first few days were terrifying,” he continued, “but eventually I managed to overcome the fear.”
Al-Hamwi feels the story is “symbolic of … how these fears stand in our way throughout life.”
“When we let those fears overwhelm us, they take over and metaphorically kill us,” she said in the press release.