Last updated
Directed by Patrick Rea
Written byPatrick Rea
Kendal Sinn
StarringEmily Boresow
Erin McGrane
Meg Saricks
Music byJulian Bickford
CinematographyHanuman Brown-Eagle
Edited byJosh Robison
Ministry Machine Productions
SenoReality Pictures
Release date
  • January 25, 2013 (2013-01-25)(Japan)
Running time
82 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$300,000 [1]

Nailbiter is a 2013 horror film directed by Patrick Rea. The movie was first released onto DVD in Japan on January 25, 2013 and received its American debut on April 5, 2013 at the Phoenix Film Festival. It stars Erin McGrane as a mother who defends herself and her children against a dangerous foe. Rea intends to film a sequel to the film, which is tentatively titled Nailbiter: The Storm Children and will feature Meg Saricks reprising her role as Jennifer. [2]



Janet (Erin McGrane) and her children are on the way to the airport to pick up their father (Aaron Laue) when they are forced to take shelter from a tornado that is ravaging the area. They manage to find a storm shelter outside of a seemingly abandoned house, only for the group to become trapped by a fallen tree that prevents them from leaving the storm shelter. Things are made worse when they discover that they're not alone in the house or storm shelter and the group is attacked by a monstrous creature.



Rea first announced plans for Nailbiter in 2008 but did not begin production until 2009, [3] as he had to first raise funding for the film. [4] Filming began in 2009 in Kansas City, Missouri, [5] but shooting stopped 2/3 of the way into the film as Rea ran out of funding. [1] The cast and crew resumed filming in December 2010 and shot an additional airport scene in May 2011, after which point they moved fully into post production. [1] [6] While working on the film's script, Rea chose to make much of the cast female as he "felt like that would be more endearing as well as more compelling." [7] Before officially beginning filming, Rea had his four main actors "go out and act like a family for awhile" in order to build a connection between the actors. [1] Other than financial difficulties, the only significant issue with the filming for Nailbiter experienced was the weather, as the "days [Rea] wanted to look stormy were sunny and the days [he] wanted to look sunny looked stormy". [1]


Critical reception for Nailbiter has been mixed to positive. [8] A reviewer for Star Pulse commented that "As far as sheer creep factor, "Nailbiter" delivers handsomely" but criticized the DVD's lack of a "making of" documentary. [9] The Oklahoma Gazette praised the film's setting, as they felt that this was "intriguing" and also commented favorably on the choice of making Erin McGrane's character an alcoholic. [10] Ain't It Cool News also cited McGrane's character's alcoholism as a highlight, as they saw this as one of several small touches that they enjoyed. [11] Dread Central remarked that the film was "not a perfect flick", as they felt that McGrane took too long to settle into her character but overall saw the movie as "ingenious, creepy and a delightful modern take on an old-school sense of storytelling". [12]


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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Interview: Patrick Rea – Director (Nailbiter)". Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  3. Catalano, Mike. "New Nailbiter Pics". JoBlo. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  4. Catalano, Mike. "Nailbiter storms in". JoBlo. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  5. "Faces of Kansas City: Local filmmaker's flick a real nailbiter". KCTV. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  6. Hernandez, Moises. "Patrick Rea's Nailbiter wraps shooting and prepares to be released next year!". JoBlo. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  7. Rodgers, Alondra. "Filmmaker Patrick Rea talks Horror, the Midwest and his new film "NAILBITER"". Fangoria. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  8. "Nailbiter (2012)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  9. Coleman, Jason. "DVD Review: 'Nailbiter'". Star Pulse. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  10. Lott, Rod. "Three — count 'em, three — frights in one!". OK Gazette. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  11. "Capone reviews the haunting indie horror film NAILBITER, and let's those in the Chicago area know where you can catch it and other new horror films this weekend!!!". AICN. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  12. "Nailbiter (review)". Dread Central. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  13. "Winners Announced for 12th Annual Shriekfest in Los Angeles". Dread Central. Retrieved 31 January 2014.