'Philophobia: Or The Fear Of Falling In Love' Review: An Intriguing Blend Of Horror And Romance [Denver Film Festival]

The below contains minor spoilers for the film Philophobia: or the Fear of Falling in Love.You ever feel like your love life is a horror movie? If so, you're going to find Philophobia: or the Fear of Falling in Love extremely relatable. Tyler Cole's directorial debut takes a swing at romantic horror and punches it right in the heart. Because honestly, what could be more terrifying than being in love? You take the most vulnerable version of yourself and you just hand it over to another human being hoping they don't spike it like a wide receiver.  The film's protagonist, Damien Booster (Aaron Burt) shares that fear, but doesn't seem to be quite ready to acknowledge that to himself or his charming girlfriend Danielle (Emily Pearse). After seven months of dating, Danielle's ready to say those three fateful words. Damien, who won't even kiss her in public, does everything he can to avoid the subject. An unrequited "I love you" is dangerous territory for any relationship, but his noncommittal response to meeting her mother is enough to drive a heartbroken Dani to leave. Heartbreak has some unfortunate side effects, but can you experience them when you weren't in love in the first place? That question seems to be the root of Damien's problems, but he doesn't have a lot of time the ponder before high school bestie Alan (David Lengel) shows up on his doorstep ready for a bachelor weekend. Alan's arrival is convenient, because everyone needs a bro around when they feel like they're completely losing their minds. As things progress, Damien starts seeing things. Spooky things.  Some of those spookies are paranormal while others end up being way more real than the philophobe signed up for. Let's get one thing straight here: Philophobia: or the Fear of Falling in Love is ridiculous. Thankfully, that ridiculousness is really what makes the film work. The team of Aaron Burt and Tyler Cole seem to have known exactly what kind of budgetary restrictions they would face and set out to make the best movie possible within those limitations. That self-awareness pays dividends all throughout the film. No one's going out for an effects Oscar in this flick, but that's part of what makes it a blast. In that same vein, it just feels like every single cast member is having so much fun making this movie. Aaron Burt is a particular stand out in that respect as he glides through the movie with the air of a bro who's just around to have a good time. Don't let that make you think that Emily Pearse is letting him have all the fun, though! Pearse is charmingly hilarious from the moment we meet her, and I'm always here for a woman that both knows how to defend herself and exactly what she deserves in a relationship. The two leads having a grand old time together only helps bolster what I can only assume was already a considerable amount of chemistry. You're rooting for him to figure it out just as much as you're supporting her putting her foot down, and laughing along the way as you do. Philophobia: or the Fear of Falling in Love has a little something for everyone. If straight horror films wig you out, you'll be able to dip your toe in this without getting too freaked out. Same goes for straight romance. It revolves around love and there's certainly a romance aspect to the film, but you're not getting stuck in mush-central. Go into this one just looking to have a good time and you'll do just that!  /Film Rating: 7 out of 10