What do you get when you combine a horrible script, terrible acting, bad editing and a senseless storyline together? Why, "fear dot com" of course.
I didn't go into the film with high expectations. After all, here's a horror movie that was dumped at the end of August, a slot usually slated for summer throwaways. Here's a horror movie about people that die after visiting a web site. Here's a horror movie that just didn't get that good of reviews when it came out.
Then again, it is a horror movie. Rarely do these kinds of films get good reviews; I can count many good horror movies that were given terrible reviews by a majority of critics. However, I can also count many horror movies that were given terrible reviews for a reason, but other critics didn't even scratch the surface as to how bad "fear dot com" is.
First off, the script. I could tell within the first five minutes that there was a problem. Here are Stephen Dorff ("Blade"), Natascha McElhone ("Ronin"), and Stephen Rea ("The Crying Game"), all somewhat respected actors. When the lines still sound cheesy, it is a clear sign that the script sucks big time.
Unfortunately, it wasn't just the script. The acting is absolutely dreadful. Dorff is only moderately bad, but McElhone is God-awful. Absolutely God-awful. I didn't think I could ever see her act this badly, let alone anyone. It's as if she knew this movie was going to suck (yet she still agreed to be in it) so she just didn't try. And Stephen Rea isn't exactly stellar, either.
Worst of all, the movie is just crappy. The editing is sloppy, the settings are way too dark, every light blinks, and the menagerie of images that flash across the screen, especially near the end of the film, are just way too cluttered to be considered "artsy." The movie is technically disappointing and not at all scary, which, for a horror movie, is a death wish. Horror movies can be successful if the plot is lame and the acting sucks, but if they aren't scary, then they're gone.
What bothered me the most was that the movie just doesn't make any sense. It reminded me a lot of "The Ring," which came out a couple months after this one did, because this one is about a ghost who wants her story told, so she gives people 48 hours to figure out and then kills them if they don't, whereas "The Ring" is about a ghost who wants her story told and gives her victims a week. "The Ring" didn't wrap up every loose end, but at least it was creepy and well-acted; "fear dot com" is anything but, and it makes no damn sense. Dorff, a police officer, calls in McElhone, a Department of Health officer, to see if what is killing these people is a virus, but after they determine it isn't she still hangs around. Shouldn't she just leave? Instead, she starts investigating the murders, including interviewing people and so forth. Why? It doesn't make any sense. In fact, most of the things she does do not make sense.
"fear dot com" is one of the worst movies of the year. It is a terrible horror film that will stain the careers of everyone involved.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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