a critiQal film review FeardotCom (2002)

  • DVD

When Detective Reilly (Dorff) arrives and what looks to be a suicide by train, he finds out the victim was bleeding from the eyes and nose before he died. With a new virus as the possible cause, Houston (McElhone), a Department of Health inspector, is called in to assist. As more people die, they discover the truth - a website is behind the deaths. Now they must discover why...before they become the next victims.

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  • ...this thriller isn't worth all the hype.

I’d heard this was a great film from numerous people. Apparently it was so popular, it stuck around in the theaters longer then was expected. The plot sounded a bit cheesy, so I couldn’t justify forking over the cash to see it in the theaters, but figured FeardotCom would be worth a rental.

The acting was decent enough, for a horror flick. It was a nice change of pace to see people who can actually act in a horror movie, as opposed to just the cute teenyboppers who tend to run rampant through them. Stephen Dorff (of Blade (1998) fame) did his best, but the plot pulled it under just a little too much. Stephen Rea, as “The Doctor”, also tried to give a decent performance, but he seemed a bit ill-suited for his role.

The plot focused around a website that kills people. They tried to make something up about a nexus website that would collect psychic energy from people, and then could use it against them, but I didn’t buy it. It seemed just a little too far-fetched to be believable.

The film tried to go for the gross-out factor more then the scare factor most of the time, unfortunately. Films that try to scare you without resorting to the gross-out factor tend to do better in my book. Anyone can go for the gross out – it takes real talent to scare someone without it.

The special effects were pretty good. The gross-out scenes looked realistic, and you never were looking for the special effects makeup. The website, always a hard thing to show in film, was done pretty well, and while having aspects of typical pixilated graphics from web sites, it also added a bit of full motion video and a lot of quick images.

There have been a few films that try to make a website look interesting on film, and many techniques have been tried, from suggestive imagery (Hackers (1995)) to jerky, sometimes frozen, camera angles (Halloween: Resurrection (2002)), but I think this film did it’s best making the site become interesting.

The decent acting and decent special effects make FeardotCom seem to rise above the typical slasher flick. but the sub-standard plot drops it back down. I’d say this is on par with a Friday the 13th (1980) or Halloween (1978) film somewhere in the middle of those series. Nothing too exciting, and aims for the gross-out factor, rather then just trying to scare you.

Not worth all the hype.

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