HTF REVIEW: "fear dot com" (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Dec 30, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Ronald Epstein

    fear dot com

    Studio: Warner Bros.
    Year: 2002
    Rated: R
    Film Length: 101 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1)
    Subtitles: English, French and Spanish

    The last site you'll ever see
    There's nothing more than I enjoy than a really
    good horror movie. Like most everyone, I like to
    go to the movies and be scared. Problem is, not
    since Nightmare on Elm Street have I seen
    a film that really grabbed me. It's easy to say
    that perhaps I am just getting too old to be scared.
    It's also easy to say that Hollywood just doesn't
    know how to make horror movies anymore. A perfect
    example is fear dot com, a totally ridiculous
    horror movie that relies on MTV-style shock value
    graphics instead of the one thing that makes horror
    movies so good -- a well written story.
    The concept of this film is pretty darn good.
    Detective Mike Reilly (Stephen Dorff) is an FBI
    agent who has been after the 'evil' doctor
    Alistair Pratt, who performs surgical mutilations
    via his Web site where people log on to watch
    these murders. He has just discovered something
    horrible. When people log onto the website, they witness unspeakable acts of
    torture, then only have 48 hours to live after
    viewing. Teaming up with Terry (Natascha McElhone),
    a Department Of Health officer, the two hit the
    streets, the internet, and the deepest recesses
    of their own fears to find out just who is behind
    this ghastly site.
    Filled with bad acting and weak dialogue, the only
    thing the filmmakers had left up their sleeves was
    to give us a movie filmed mainly in darkness with
    lots of swirling colors, scary quick-cut images,
    bondage, torture, and screaming. Anyone that feels
    these elements make a good horror movie should have
    their head examined.
    How is the transfer?
    Once again Warner Bros. gives us another consistently
    reliable top-notch transfer that is ultra-sharp and
    detailed, that is, when you can see what is happening
    on screen. You see, at no fault of the transfer, this
    movie is filmed mostly in darkness. After a while you
    pray someone would turn on a light bulb. These dark
    scenes are as detailed as the filmmakers wanted it
    to be. Many of the scenes are filmed with beautiful
    blue filters, which gives the film a nice warm look
    against a smooth background that contains absolutely
    no film grain.
    The 5.1 Dolby Digital mix is very active here. The
    front channels provide some bass-heavy response to
    the film's score, which often wraps itself around the
    entire listening area. LFE response is extremely
    strong, accenting the score's most suspenseful music
    cues. The rears do a great job of providing ambient
    noise such as rain and thunder. They also provide
    some of the eeriest noises you'll ever hear. These
    eerie noises effectively move from channel to channel
    as the film's most grisly images flash on the screen
    before you. This is a very robust soundtrack with
    highly detailed dynamics.
    Special Features
    Warner Bros. packaging promises "Killer bonus features
    you can't resist." To be honest, after watching this
    dud, the last thing I wanted to do was go through
    these supplements. Unfortunately, I have a job to
    do here, so let me do it....
    First up is a feature length commentary by
    director William Malone and director of photography
    Christian Sebaldt. I am not going to review the
    commentary as I feel it would add nothing to this
    feardotcom: visions of fear is one of those
    standard promotional vehicles that will say just
    about anything to get you into the theater. Just
    listen to director William Malone and cast members
    Jeffrey Combs, Natascha McElhone and Stephen Dorff
    try to make sense of this picture. This 4-minute
    featurette offers no real insight into the making
    of the film, relying on lots of clips and cast
    promotion to make its point.
    Director William Malone introduces The mushroom
    factory a scene that was ultimately cut from the
    film. Taking a look at this scene (without any final
    music and missing a few effect shots), you can see
    why the notion of adding mushroom people was perhaps
    a little too far-fetched.
    (length: approx. 5 minutes)
    A Fear Gallery contains mostly conceptual
    designs and storyboards. There is also a cast
    and crew filmography as well as the film's
    original theatrical trailer.
    DVD-ROM features are basically web links
    that take you to the film's site where additional
    photos from the film can be found in addition to
    a trailer.
    Final Thoughts
    The fact that this film was filled with loud music
    and effects was probably the only reason I managed
    to stay awake throughout. Don't even think that
    fear dot com is going to satisfy any sort of
    craving for horror. In fact, what scares me the most
    is that some people are going to actually rent or
    buy this DVD.
    Release Date: January 14, 2003
    All screen captures have been further compressed.
    They are for illustrative purposes only and do not
    represent actual picture quality
  2. Pete Battista

    Pete Battista Cinematographer

    Sep 20, 1999
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    Shepherdsville, KY. USA
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    Thanks for the review Ron... I am a huge horror fan and I couldn't get through this one when it came out!

    I must say with you reviewing this one you are definitely the most dedicated reviewer on the net! Not to mention in my opinion the best!

    Thank You for all your hard work... it really is appreciated.
  3. Chad A Wright

    Chad A Wright Supporting Actor

    Jul 22, 2002
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    You receive thanks everytime you do a review, but it is never more deserved than when you have to review crap like this. Thanks for all your hard work (and suffering).
  4. Brenton

    Brenton Screenwriter

    Jun 25, 2002
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    If the title was any indication, the film was destined to be crap. Thanks Ron. I will strategically avoid this disc.
  5. Justin_S

    Justin_S Producer

    Mar 4, 2001
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    I am an absolute horror fanatic, and I see almost every theatrical horror film at the theater, as was the case with this one. Unfortunately, this is one of the worst horror films I've seen in a while, and it also rips off RING very badly. I will not be getting this one.
  6. Andy Olivera

    Andy Olivera Screenwriter

    Jul 25, 2000
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    This is one of those films I have to see just for the awesome visuals and soundtrack, even if it isn't scary(see also: Thir13en Ghosts). In that respect, thanks for telling me how much I have to look forward to...[​IMG]
  7. Dan M

    Dan M Second Unit

    Feb 6, 2000
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    Really Ron? You haven't seen any good horror movies since NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET?

    A lot of horror films have gone over the dam since that one!

    I like 80's horror as well. But here lately I've seen a few that I thought were pretty darn good and scary. THE OTHERS is one of the best ghost stories ever IMO. The ever so debatable BLAIR WITCH I thought was a landmark horror film (some thought it wasn't scary at all, while others thought it was incredibly scary). I could list a few more but for me the all time great one would have to be THE EXORCIST. A true feeling of dread comes over me when watching that one.

    I didn't think FEARDOTCOM was as bad as what most people say but it was not nearly as good as THE RING. Looking forward to that dvd.
  8. Bruce Hedtke

    Bruce Hedtke Cinematographer

    Jul 11, 1999
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  9. Brett_B

    Brett_B Supporting Actor

    Oct 26, 1999
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