feardotcom – USA, 2002 – reviews

‘Want to see a really killer website?’

feardotcom aka fear dot com is a 2002 American horror feature film about the mysterious deaths that occur 48 hours after users log onto the titular website.

Directed by William Malone (Parasomnia; House on Haunted Hill; Creature; Scared to Death) from a screenplay written by Josephine Coyle, based in a storyline by Moshe Diamant, with contributions by Holly Payberg-Torroija.

The soundtrack score was composed by Nicholas Pike (It’s Alive, 2009; Parasomnia; Love Object; Sleepwalkers; Critters 2).

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“The yarn, scripted by Josephine Coyle from a story by the producer Moshe Diamant, is much more grisly than it is scary and the acting is mostly very basic, with an over-the-top, quite poor performance by Stephen Rea, unusually misjudging the pitch of his role as the killer.” Derek Winnert

“This is so daft, it’s almost interesting. The coups de grace, however, are the pop video graphics that turn your eyes inside out and make your brain ache. It has become de rigueur to shoot horror/thrillers in blue/grey light, that might be mistaken for monochrome, with its shivery basement chill. Also, it rains and rains and every location resembles a disused factory.” Eye for Film

“Crucial among FeardotCom‘s failings is that it suffers from a muddled concept where it is not at all clear what is happening. There is the mysterious ghost girl on the internet; a snuff website that appears to kill everybody after they view it; cuts away every so often to Stephen Rea (in a nicely cold and chilling performance) torturing and killing women; and some extremely silly novelty deaths…” Moria

“Malone recently did a perfectly acceptable job of updating the teen schlocker The House on Haunted Hill, but fear dot com smacks too often of leering prurience rather than grown-up invention, this despite a pseudo-philosophical central speech (also cribbed from Videodrome) by a gurning Stephen Rea…” The Observer

“The screenplay is a mess, and yet the visuals are so creative this is one of the rare bad films you might actually want to see. The plot is a bewildering jumble of half-baked ideas, from which we gather just enough of a glimmer about the story to understand how it is shot through with contradictions and paradoxes. And yet I watched in admiration as a self-contained nightmare formed with the visuals.” Roger Ebert

“The sequences in which the Web site’s victims are confronted by their worst fears should have been a highlight. Instead, Malone goes into a frenzy of quick cuts and shaky camera moves each time, showing things that are more generically creepy than specific to the mentality of the characters.” San Francisco Chronicle, August 30, 2002

“This is sadistic, mean, senseless and misogynistic and loaded with unpleasant production values and a head-scratching script. It’s not that the visuals stink (they’re handled okay) it’s the story writer Josephine Coyle has put together. Filled with lousy dialogue and so many logic lapses it’s hard to keep track of…” The Video Graveyard

Cast and characters:

  • Stephen Dorff … Mike
  • Natascha McElhone … Terry
  • Stephen Rea … Alistair
  • Udo Kier … Polidori
  • Amelia Curtis … Denise
  • Jeffrey Combs … Styles
  • Nigel Terry … Turnbull
  • Gesine Cukrowski … Jeannine
  • Michael Sarrazin … Frank Bryant
  • Jana Güttgemanns … Little Girl
  • Anna Thalbach … Kate
  • Siobhan Flynn … Thana Brinkman
  • Evie Garratt … Albino Woman
  • Lex Kreps … Tenant
  • Joan McBride … Mrs Richardson
  • Isabelle Van Waes … Victim
  • Derek Kueter … Officer #1
  • Elizabeth McKechnie … Alice Turnbull
  • Arnita Swanson … Barlow
  • Gordon Peters … Rooney
  • Nils Brunkhorst … Prisoner
  • Sven Pippig … Henry
  • Anja Van Greuningen … Ashley
  • Anjelika Khromova … Ashley’s Mother
  • Sigal Diamant … Nurse
  • Matthias Schweighöfer … Dieter Schrader
  • Birthe Wolter … Nina Blank
  • Frances Potasnik … Nurse #1
  • Mascha Litterscheid … Nurse #2
  • Dean Gregory … Maintenance Man #1
  • Chris Bearne … Warehouse Attendant
  • Emma Campbell … Goth-Chick
  • Kwasi Songui … Young Detective
  • Astrid Skuyat … Alistair’s Victim
  • Joe Forbes … Maintenance Man #2 (uncredited)
  • Serge Mauro … William Malone (uncredited)

Technical details:

  • 101 minutes
  • Aspect ratio: 2.35: 1
  • Audio: DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS | Dolby Digital (Dolby 5.1)

Box office:

  • Budget: $40,000,000 (estimated)
  • USA: $13,258,249
  • Worldwide: $18,902,015

Trivia:

The image of a little blonde-haired girl with a bouncing ball references Mario Bava’s Kill… Baby Kill! (1966).

Keywords:

alcoholic | anatomy | author | bar | bath | bouncing ball | bug | car crash | cat | computer | darkness | dead mouse | death | detective |  haemophiliac | internet | little girl | murder | pain | psychopath | rain | serial killer | steel mill | suffering | subway train | virus | writer

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