Delving into the dark corners of the human soul is one of the most exciting challenges any filmmaker can take on. Such an undertaking is even more commendable when the result impresses with its psychological breadth while condensing an overwhelmingly bleak magnetic atmosphere. Well, director Çınar Nazım İleri wins this bet, delivering with ‘Everyone is Afraid‘ an intense, almost indigestible experience that unfolds before our eyes on the border between reality and psychosis. Part sci-fi, part experimental that amalgamates a dark dreamlike imagery and narrative fragments reminiscent of David Lynch’s surreal automatism, this short film unfolds like a spider’s web in which the victim is the protagonist’s own troubled mind.


Starting from the pretext of a highly advanced technology that can help victims of emotional abuse to overcome the traumas that have marked their existence, the director plunges us into the viscous matter of a claustrophobic fictional universe in which every landmark seems deceptive. Thus, the story captured in images has the structure of a puzzle that everyone is invited to complete. More precisely, the story of the central female character who decides to seek the help of this AI “psychotherapist” is shown to us through a succession of disparate fragments in which the laws of reality are suspended, just as time and space lose their consistency.


Both fascinating and terrifying, this programmatic chaotic journey through the hopes and nightmares of the main character intersects with other spectres in search of healing, lost in this great valley of lament, which is a metaphor for the collective consciousness. Çınar Nazım İleri gives his short film a consistent “psychoanalyzable” substrate, and this can make the film seem to some viewers either intimidating or too disjointed. Indeed, his short film does not fall into the category of projects that want to be easily accessible. That’s precisely why ‘Everyone is Afraid’ is a challenge to any viewer, demanding for a rewatching in order to truly take advantage of this well-orchestrated concept created by a more than promising directorial vision.


For its impressive complexity illustrating a dark and magnetic journey into the depths of a soul tormented by its own past, ‘Everyone is Afraid’ was awarded with the 2nd Film of the Month distinction in the April 2024 edition of TMFF.