FearDotCom is easily in the running for worst film of the year. The whole mess is a painfully dull ripoff of much better films - namely Poltergeist, Videodrome, and 8MM (okay, so that one's not much better). Full of grotesque imagery of sadistic tortures and killings and a plethora of asinine characters and pathetic attempts at acting, FearDotCom is a prime example of just how bad a bad movie can be.
Heading into this flick, I knew that there was an inherent risk in reviewing a film starring Stephen Dorff - whose career careens from solid roles in movies like Cecil B. DeMented and I Shot Andy Warhol to complete trash such as S.F.W. and Deuces Wild. Dorff plays police detective Mike Reilly, who is investigating a series of four grisly murders involving hemorrhaged eyeballs, exploding hearts, and a mysterious website called FearDotCom.com (yes, that's really how it's spelled). His investigation leads to a partnership with Department of Health researcher Terry Houston (Natascha McElhone) as the case delves further into one of Reilly's past cases involving the sadistic murderer Alistair Pratt (a forgettable Stephen Rea) who runs his own live death-cam site and has eluded Reilly for years.
Apparently, all four of the murder victims had logged onto the FearDotCom.com site and were confronted with a series of hellish images involving a striking blonde girl and bloody instruments of death, somehow contributing to their strange circumstances of death. With no leads or witnesses, Reilly logs on to FearDotCom.com to solve the mystery... but will he ferret out the evil before joining the Internet victims?
The film pulls itself along on a shoestring plot, involving guilty pervert parties, soapbox passages on the power of electronic media, a foolish love story, and the relationship between the hunter and hunted. Alas, the only real mysteries here are why someone would use such a stupid domain name like FearDotCom.com and how the hands on your watch tick more slowly during this film than during the rest of your life. Ultimately, FearDotCom is a cheap windup toy complete with snapshots of grisly, stomach-turning torture scenes, flat characters, uninventive spooks, and blatant cinematic plagiarism. Avoid at all costs.
Aka fear dot com.
On DVD, both of you FearDotCom fans will find a commentary to thrill to along with a 5-minute making of doc and a (singular) deleted scene.
203 audience members to date.
Run time: 101 mins
In Theaters: Friday 30th August 2002
Box Office USA: $13.1M
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Production compaines: Franchise Pictures, ApolloMedia Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 3%
Fresh: 3 Rotten: 96
IMDB: 3.3 / 10
Director: William Malone
Screenwriter: Josephine Coyle
Starring: Stephen Dorff as Detective Mike Reilly, Natascha McElhone as Terry Huston, Stephen Rea as Alistair Pratt, Udo Kier as Polidori, Amelia Curtis as Denise Stone, Jeffrey Combs as Sykes, Anna Thalbach as Kate
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