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Overall Rating
1.73

Awesome: 4.3%
Worth A Look: 3.23%
Average: 20.43%
Pretty Bad: 5.38%
Total Crap66.67%

6 reviews, 57 user ratings


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fear dot com
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by Doug Bentin

"Visual feast and intellectual famine"
3 stars

It’s not uncommon to find so many plot holes in a horror film, the script looks like a chain link fence. Prose horror fiction is plot-driven; horror films rely on atmosphere. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Italian tradition, and there especially in the films of Lucio Fulci.

Fulci’s work, unknown to anyone in this country who isn’t a gore hound, abounds in stories that are called “plotted” only by courtesy. The scripts are merely pretences on which stunning visuals of mortifying fear and gag-inducing violence are hung. One of his most notorious moments comes in “The City of the Dead” in which a young woman, turning into a zombie before our eyes, literally pukes her guts out in one extended shot.

Fulci has recently received fine treatment in DVD through the auspices of Anchor Bay, and I mention him here only because “Feardotcom” reminds me so much of his approach to the creepshow.

The movie comes by its European look naturally. It’s a co-production from the U.K., Germany, and Luxembourg, and the cast list is littered with surnames like Cukrowski and Güttgemanns. William Malone, whose previous feature thriller was “House on Haunted Hill,” directs and brings to this picture the same eye for odd, creep-you-out visuals he employed in that earlier movie.

Stephen Dorff stars as police detective Mike Reilly. He begins working with Dept. of Health investigator Terry Houston (Natascha McElhone) to look into a series of deaths that appear to be caused by some sort of unidentified virus. All the victims are bleeding from the eyes.

Terry determines it’s no plague. The only things they discover that the victims had in common were recent visits to the web site “feardotcom.com,” which they realize is a “live death” site. A serial killer known as The Doctor is torturing and murdering people for anyone with Internet access to watch.

But something is getting to those web surfers who enjoy watching others die in torment. Within 48 hours of logging on to feardotcom.com, they, too, perish, victims of their most terrifying fears. Each one’s demise is initiated by the appearance of a small girl dressed in white, playing with a white plastic ball.

In order to track The Doctor to his lair, Reilly has to log onto the site, thereby endangering himself unless he can locate the murderer before his 48 hours are up.

As you can see, this plot is serviceable to propel a series of shocking events, but Malone’s interest is not in telling a coherent story. Things happen with the inevitability and surreal quality of a recurrent nightmare. The movie is loaded with dark and stormy nights, long hallways with closed doors at their ends, and fluttery drapes that flick onto and off the screen with the imprecision of odd things seen out of the corner of the eye.

I know that these elements are standard in horror films, but Malone’s specialties are montage sequences during which frightening objects and people zoom past. You see them for a second, just long enough to comprehend what they are, but not long enough to decide why they’re there.

A naked woman creeping along on all fours, her head tilted up so you can see her glaring at you; flashes of The Doctor’s victims in varying states of decomposition; doorways leading to places you’d have to be mad to want to enter—all these things shoot across the screen with unsettling speed and suggestiveness. It’s a trick Malone used to good effect in “House on Haunted Hill,” and his visions are even more haunting here.

Dorff is fine as the obsessed cop, and cult horror film favorite Jeffrey Combs is a welcome presence even if he doesn’t have much to do, but the real heart—or heartlessness—of the picture is Stephen Rea as the butchering Doctor.

Rea hit one out of the park as the gender-confused IRA soldier in “The Crying Game,” but he hasn’t done much of note since. Here, his underplaying as the insane serial killer makes his scenes among the spookiest of recent memory. He’s so quiet, so still, so apparently rational as he kidnaps his victims and tortures them to the point of having them beg for death, he is the embodiment of evil’s banality.

This must sound as if the film presents moments of butchery beyond what most viewers could ever consider to be entertainment, but the movie is less overtly gruesome than most. The buzz is that the gore content was sliced off in order to get an R rating.

“Feardotcom” is certainly not for everyone—not even for everyone who professes to like horror movies. But if you’ve seen the Italian model and know you can go with the visuals and not worry if the plot makes no more sense than the worst nightmare, you should be pleasantly creeped out.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=6085&reviewer=405
originally posted: 10/22/05 06:32:38
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User Comments

12/29/17 morris campbell trash 1 stars
11/26/11 Wa Wa Weitz Just awful. Crap, exploitative crap, derivative crap, boring crap, crap crap crap. 1 stars
9/11/07 kristina The movie was orgasmic :D 5 stars
6/09/06 Frank Rountree This movie was bad all the way around, everything! 1 stars
4/04/06 JRE horror films arent supposed to be predictable which is exactly what this was. dont watch it 1 stars
11/26/05 shell bell Not only was this predictable...it was boringly predictable. 1 stars
11/23/05 Melissa just waiting for something to happen, hard to hear, boring 1 stars
10/27/05 deadwiz Not scary, just weird. Had some interesting ideas. 3 stars
10/26/05 Richard Brandt Seems ghosts could just come out with what's bothering them...Wait, this wasn't The Ring? 2 stars
10/23/05 baseball-nut I have to agree with the majority....this was CRAP! 1 stars
9/02/05 ES Nothing here your life won't be better off without 1 stars
1/05/05 Joe England From what I saw, "The Ring," with "du you want to plé?" constantly fed onto the soundtrack. 2 stars
1/02/05 Sarah Jack Sommersby is a fucking idiot. 1 stars
7/21/04 American Slasher Goddess A boring mess, Jeffrey Combs is once again wasted in another movie. 1 stars
7/11/04 NaturezRevenge 1. The ring meets wannabe hellraiser where girls can have haemophilia and play at old mills 1 stars
6/23/04 Freeman Not bad at all 4 stars
4/11/04 valerie hart this is one of the worst films i have ever seen crap story its so dark cant see the screen! 1 stars
3/09/04 Sean McLean Boring direction and a script that needed some more drafts mars an otherwise decent concept 2 stars
2/14/04 Jingo P. Everyone involved deserves slow decapitation with a saudering iron. 1 stars
1/09/04 tatum Stunning visuals lift dumb story 3 stars
12/14/03 darkofnight An excellent ride that offers a surprising amount of great jolts. Conclusion falls flat. 4 stars
11/24/03 Samuel Good premise, but unfortunately the rest sucks! 3 stars
10/17/03 Jeremy Ach The best movie I have ever seen. 5 stars
10/11/03 Peter What a load of shite, and thats being Nice!!, if the film was any darker You need a tourch! 1 stars
10/11/03 Dumb Like it was the boring movie of all time 1 stars
10/09/03 Stacey !Stupid! 1 stars
8/26/03 feardotgovdotny everyone involved with this four-assed-monkey turd has 48 hrs b4 I start shooting! 1 stars
6/16/03 Alice I have no words for this piece of shit 1 stars
4/30/03 WORST MOVIE OF ALL TIME Anyone who likes this even a bit is a TURD. 1 stars
3/12/03 garamy swearingen it is shit 1 stars
1/24/03 nora parsons it is a very good movie 5 stars
1/17/03 othree serial killer, ghost & the net, supporting cast almost pulls it off, DARK! NO fEAR 3 stars
11/17/02 snowconehead Udo Kier is the man 5 stars
11/08/02 SPYDER ITS A RIP OFF OF THE RING, THAT SUCKS!!!! 1 stars
11/01/02 The Velcro Warlock Natasha McElhone, the angel of "Truman Show" is just as wasted here, even w/more screentime 2 stars
10/30/02 Oz got it just right, read his review Lillian, David A — you are RETARDS! Only a MORON could find anything to like in this TURD! 1 stars
10/23/02 Lillian Alston I agree with Eric, the movie had no meaning. I was exspecting something different. 3 stars
10/22/02 Jiz About as interesting as watching roadkill decompose. Yawn-o-matic, fuck you Malone 1 stars
10/08/02 This Movie Sucks The only frightening thing about this movie is the amount bad press it's getting. 1 stars
9/20/02 thejames why did stephen dorff have to be in this movie? hes good, movie sucks 2 stars
9/12/02 Mike G I laughed a lot. The dialogue is painful. 1 stars
9/12/02 Buddha Unconscionably bad. Terrible dialogue, for torture fans only. 1 stars
9/10/02 David A. Just like an episode of X Files. Lead characters are imitations of Mulder and Sculley. 4 stars
9/10/02 Warbandit What a load of bullsh!t. Avoid at all costs. 1 stars
9/09/02 jay shit shit garbage, waste of money, IM soo fuckin upset. crap, shit garbage, donation, damn 1 stars
9/08/02 Cliché Master The only thing scary here was the admission price. 1 stars
9/08/02 Erik Snider is right Not even bad in a funny kind of way. Just unbearable 1 stars
9/06/02 alien Which part of the movies name didn't warn you it would suck? Only suckers could go see it. 1 stars
9/06/02 Jennie sucked big time, stupidist movie ever seen 1 stars
9/06/02 Gregg I think this film should be titled Crapdotcom 1 stars
9/05/02 CARLOS GUTIERREZ VERY BAD MOVIE, IN DIALOGUE AND EDITING 1 stars
9/04/02 The Chronic Mastubator Such a boring turd of a movie. 1 stars
9/02/02 Sugarfoot Piss rotten! 1 stars
9/02/02 Danielle Ophelia Fear dot coma 1 stars
9/01/02 Danny See my review at www.bucketreviews.com 3 stars
8/31/02 Damien Raven Maybe the weirdest damn movie this year. Decent plot, bad acting and dialog, great looking 3 stars
8/20/02 Peter Brook Is this a joke? Fear dot com? 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  30-Aug-2002 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  06-Feb-2003




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