Fear Dot Com

"Zero"

Fear Dot Com Review


Like a student who dropped out of class after the first day of Horror Movies 101, director William Malone makes the trend-tardy internet fad cash-in flick "fear dot com" look like a horror movie (poor lighting and graphic, misogynistic torture scenes) and sound like a horror movie (lots of screaming and scraping metal knife-slash sounds). But this tawdry, incompetent, six-years-too-late stinker couldn't be more lifeless if all its characters were already dead from Scene One.

The implausibly weak gimmick is this: Everyone who visits the haunted web site feardotcom.com -- which takes over your computer and assaults you with scenes of bondage and torture -- begins hallucinating a creepy little white-haired girl, then dies within 48 hours, bleeding from several orifices. If that sounds like entertainment to you, perhaps you should save the price of admission and put it toward therapy.

Investigating the deaths are a scruffy cop from central casting (Stephen Dorff, "Blade") and a Department of Heath inspector (Natascha McElhone, "Ronin"), both devoid of discernible personalities. When they're not delivering cardboard dialogue in performances that scream "please say 'cut!' so I can go to my trailer and lament my career," the two discover an eerie connection between the feardotcom site and the first victim of a serial killer called The Doctor (Stephen Rea, "The Crying Game"), who broadcasts the torture of a pretty blonde live on his own web site throughout the movie.

Watching a girl be kidnapped and tortured in the age of the AMBER Alert really drives home the fact that slasher flicks always have been a sick fantasy. But while they can be good movies in spite of their subject matter (the original "Halloween" and "Scream" for example), this one scrapes the bottom of the barrel -- not because it's disturbing, but because it's too superficial and inane to be as disturbing as it should be. Beyond painfully bad or even laughably bad, it's simply insipid.

The plot meanders through discombobulated hocus-pocus about supernatural energies stored in the ethers of the World Wide Web, but director Malone (who made the similarly inept "The House on Haunted Hill") never even tries to make sense of it. He's too busy toying with antiquated fun-house camera distortions, setting up a murky midnight showdown at "the old steel mill" and making sure no character ever turns on a light switch.

One thing Malone certainly isn't doing is directing his stars to credible performances. McElhone and Dorff have a couple scenes that are supposed to imply a forming romance, but the two actors are so spurious and apathetic they might as well be strangers making small talk in a long line at the grocery store.

If "fear dot com" wasn't inundated with loud music and sound effects, it couldn't even hold a person's attention for five minutes. Had the film been made in, say, 1996, one could at least have understood Warner Bros. desire to exploit the booming internet trend. But today the title sounds like a bad joke and even without seeing the movie, one has to wonder, what were they thinking?



Facts and Figures

Production compaines: Franchise Pictures, ApolloMedia Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures

Reviews

Cast & Crew

Director: William Malone

Starring: as Detective Mike Reilly, as Terry Huston, as Alistair Pratt, as Polidori, as Denise Stone, as Sykes, as Kate

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

It's been 15 years since Vin Diesel walked away from his XXX role, killing off...

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Advertisement
Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.