Thriller Releases: Agoraphobia (2015) - Reviewed


Imagine being agoraphobic, unable to even step over the threshold, terrified of the outside world. Now imagine that something sinister is inside the house that is supposed to be your refuge. Lovely premise, is it not?

This is exactly what happens in Lou Simon’s new(ish) horror/ thriller, Agoraphobia. Let me explain. This award-winning film is a 2015 production that was leaked and sold illegally by certain prominent platforms, thus prompting White Lotus productions to enter into litigation that was only resolved, well, NOW. Therefore, this 2015 indie horror is now available to North American audiences for the first time in 2021, but it was worth the fight.


Featuring horror icon Tony Todd as psychiatrist Dr. Murphy, Agoraphobia introduces us to agoraphobic Faye, who has recently inherited her late father’s fancy house. It appears that her husband and friends are very supportive, but they cannot stop her downward spiral into paranoia, because Faye is convinced that the house is haunted…and it is.


Agoraphobia’s plot is not original and you can see the twists coming, but it is a decent wave to ride to get there. Writer/ Director/ Producer Lou Simon is an expert at using camera angles to create apprehension and set the mood, although the dialogue struggles a little and the acting is not great. The scares are distributed well in between the character fleshing and the unfolding plot, so even when it slow-burns, it holds up well enough.


Miss Simon is no stranger to creating award-winning horrors. Her 2013 delivery, HazMat, grabbed best horror film at the Massachusetts Independent Film Festival and the Berlin Independent Film Festival and 2016’s All Girls Weekend got her a Best Director accolade at the Super Geek Film Festival. No wonder that, after such a lengthy legal battle, Simon is stoked to finally deliver another battery from her arsenal.


Agoraphobia features an interesting ensemble of characters and the film has the distinct feel of those direly missed made-for-TV mystery thrillers from the '90s, mostly because of the lack of profanity or nudity which kind of takes away from the believability of the scenes. Still, it is a welcome alternative to the machine gun cussing and titty-flashing culture that cheapens most horrors these days. Also giving Agoraphobia the vibe of a television thriller is the mood, pace and sets concerned – with slowly mounting suspense without any tangible threat, save for the psyche of the lead character.


Our agoraphobic, Faye, is played by Cassandra Scerbo (from the Sharknado franchise, among others) who tries her best to be convincing, but sadly she just comes across as whiny, while her husband, played by Adam Brudnicki, is the thespian’s equivalent of a Ken doll. 


Apart from the unfortunate casting of the lead couple, most of the cast hold their own. As mentioned before, Tony Todd is the draw, although his run time is scandalously limited, leaving the majority of more interesting moments to indie horror’s favorite lady-monster, Maria Olsen. Olsen doubles in the role of Faye’s Aunt Margie and of course, the menacing entity.


Overall, Agoraphobia is not a waste of time, but it could have been better, given Simon’s obvious penchant for good direction and technical savvy. It drags a bit with mundane scares, but there are some great moments that will creep you out just enough to keep you baited, but do not expect overdone, gratuitous gore. 


After all, the best ghost stories are the subtle ones. 


--Tasha Danzig