Worth A Look: 3.23%
Pretty Bad: 5.38%
Total Crap: 66.67%
6 reviews, 57 user ratings
|fear dot com
by Chris Parry
If a film this bad, this inept, this boring, this worthless, can get a wide release at the end of the summer season then I'm going to take my video camera into the bathroom and take a dump on it. Footage of a big fat turd hitting the toilet water should be able to win a freaking Oscar if this rubbish can get passed off as scary, or dramatic, or even a film. In a year that has given us some of the worst films of all time, this must surely rank as the worst - and that's a hard thing to do opposite Master of Disguise.If I had my thesaurus with me I'd start rattling off as many words as I could find that mean 'incompetent' because there really is not a single element of this film that has the slightest bit of competence about it. I'm surprised the director managed to figure out which direction to have the camera pointed.
"I've seen this crap film before, when it was called Blood Sucking Freaks."
The film deals with a website that sends negative energy out to kill viewers with their greatest fear. It also features women being tortured, the reason for which I do not know because, frankly, I didn't want to remember this film in any way, shape or form.
Steven Dorff plays a cop who is on the case with a worker from the Department of Health (Natascha McElhone). They think the victims are dying from a disease, only when it's found they aren't the Department of Health woman doesn't go back to inspecting the kitchens of Chinese restaurants, she stays on the case. Perhaps she wanted to make sure the cop was taking a bath each night.
The cop, the usual kind of five o'clock shadow stereotype that looks like he's just got out of rehab seems to have no problem with this, though he has a large problem in figuring out how to use the 'whois' function at Internic, which would tell him who was running the torture site and save us all the trouble of sitting through this pretentious cheesy bollocks.
So what are the problems with this flick? Well, first of all it has dialogue so bad it makes you cringe. Dialogue like this, when the Health worker scares the cop by sneaking up behind him:
Woman: "Terry Houston actually. Department of Health."
Oh lordy, that's some humor there. If someone used a line that corny on me, I think I'd slip them an uppercut, male or female. But in this film, that's actually as good as it gets. Believability seems to never be of great interest to the writer or director, the actors are not even on cruise control, and the propensity for scenes so dark you can barely make them out isn't a cinematic touch, it's cinematic laziness.
Part of the film involves "The Doctor" telling young women they're just right to play the lead of his upcoming film and luring them into his torture room to be cut apart live on the internet. You have to wonder, with material this bad, if McElhone and Dorff fell for the same trick as this flick will undoubtedly shred any reputations they enjoyed in the movie world to this point.
Former Tales From the Crypt director William Malone helms this mess, having just got off 1999's House on Haunted Hill failure, and it's a reasonable assessment that he'll be heading right back to cheesy TV in the not too distant future.
Malone's main crime here is in believing that we'd all be scared by images of women being tortured. An unwitting remake of the 1976 near-snuff film, Blood Sucking Freaks (the only film to have ever actually made me throw up), Feardotcom features almost the same storyline - 'doctor' lures women to be tortured for entertainment value - only at least Freaks didn't hide the fact that it was for torture voyeurs only. This film gussies itself up as a horror film, but in reality it's just a horrible film, taking particular delight in making the audience feel disgusted - and not in a good way.
There will be an audience for this film out there, and that's a sad inditement on society. It's an even sadder inditement that Hollywood has so few quality control checks that a flick that gets its rocks off cutting open women on the camera while it tut-tuts that people could ever be into that kind of thing, actually makes it to wide release - and with bankable names in the cast, no less.
Far be it from me to be considered a prude - I was one of only 12 people out of over 100 who managed to sit through the entire running time of a screening of Salo: 120 Days of Sodom a few years ago - and I'm generally down with whatever anyone wants to put on film being available to whoever wants to sit through it, but this film should be taken off the shelves. It's consistently bad, boring, unwatchable, ill-conceived, and just plain ill.I'm not just being dramatic here - I'd honestly rather stab myself in the arm than sit through it again.
link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=6085&reviewer=1
originally posted: 09/12/02 07:43:52