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Fear Dot Com
2002 - R - 101 Mins.
Director: William Malone
Producer: Limor Diamant, Andrew Stevens, Elie Samaha, Moshe Diamant, Jan Fantl, Frank Hubner
Written By: Josephine Coyle
Starring: Stephen Dorff, Udo Kier, Natascha McElhone, Stephen Rea, Gesine Cukrowski
Review by: Joe Rickey
   
A police investigator (Stephen Dorff) and a health research specialist (Natascha McElhone) begin investigating a portentous website called www.fear.com after four individuals wind up found dead 48 hours after visiting the site and viewing its questionable content. Their investigation leads them to a dark and horrifying revelation involving a person called The Black Widow and threatens to end both of their lives prematurely. Fear Dot Com stars Stephen Dorff (Blade 2) and Natascha McElhone (Ronin) along with Jeffrey Combs (House on Haunted Hill) and Stephen Rea. Coincidentally, the director is William Malone who directed Combs in the 1999 House on Haunted Hill remake.

Generally, films released during the latter part of August are films that the distributor doesn’t have much faith in and they dump them in theaters hoping for the best. Last year, MGM dumped Jeepers Creepers in theaters the last weekend of August and came away with a moderate hit and now a sequel is on the way next year. Having seen this surprise success, Warner Brothers now has a horror film of their own being released the same weekend a year later hoping for a similar success story even though Fear Dot Com is quite a bit more costly a film at a 40 million dollar budget versus the 10 million budget of Jeepers Creepers. Is Fear Dot Com a film that is fun/thrilling enough a film to enjoy its own degree of success? Well, the film is moderately enjoyable and horrifying enough that yes it could become a mild hit at the box office during a historically slow time at movie theaters across the country.

Fear Dot Com is more enjoyable than I would have thought before actually seeing it because the film uses some very disturbing imagery and torture scenes to unsettle those watching it and that presumably was its goal in the first place. The website in question is what provides the bulk of the frightening material in the film. Without spoiling the film, I will say that you would hope that there isn’t a website like the title site in this film. The performances by the low star power cast are fine for this type of slightly campy horror film. Dorff has just enough screen presence so that you don’t find your mind wandering while he is discussing the case and other related matters. McElhone fairs about the same in terms of quality as her male costar in that she is serviceable but doesn’t stand out that much. You do find yourself wondering what the film could have been had it been graced with a more talented cast.

Something that the film does botch up a little is that like most other modern films, Fear Dot Com handles the computer aspect with little accuracy to the way they actually are. This film thankfully doesn’t rely much on small computer intricacies to be thrilling. The film also doesn’t thrill as much as one would like during its climax but still is serviceable in that aspect.

Overall, Fear Dot Com is a moderately enjoyable horror film that could have been much better with a more talented cast but still is fine for those looking for a scare.






 
Movie Guru Rating
Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable. Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable. Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable.
  2.5 out of 5 stars

 
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