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Feardotcom (DVD)

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8 Reviews

Genre: Horror / Theatrical Release: 2002 / Director: William Malone / Actors: Stephen Dorff, Natascha McElhone ... / DVD released 03 October, 2005 at Uca Catalogue / Features of the DVD: PAL, Widescreen

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    8 Reviews
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      24.03.2012 20:47
      Very helpful



      One to definitely miss!

      RELEASED: 2002, Cert.18

      RUNNING TIME: Aprpox. 101 mins

      DIRECTOR: William Malone

      PRODUCERS: Linor Diamant & Moshe Diamont

      SCREENPLAY: Josephine Coyle

      MUSIC: Nicholas Pike

      MAIN CAST:-

      Stephen Dorff as Mike Reilly
      Natascha McElhone as Terry Huston
      Stephen Rea as Dr. Alistair Pratt
      Amelia Curtis as Denise Stone



      The film opens well. A man is standing alone at night on the platform of a New York subway station. A terrible thunderstorm is raging, and the man sees a little girl playing with a ball. The little girl appears to drop the ball onto the rails and jump down after it....the man follows, intending to save her from being mowed down by an oncoming train which is speeding closer and closer.

      The man obviously misjudged the situation, as he is hit by the train and slammed hard against the tunnel wall, the impact killing him outright - and, there is no sign of the little girl with the ball.

      Mike Reilly, a detective, arrives at the scene with a few of his colleagues and notices that there is something unusual about the dead man's facial expression....as if he'd died experiencing great terror of something.

      On being taken to the pathology department of the hospital, researcher Terry Huston (who is female) is baffled by the expression in the dead man's eyes, then over the next couple of days, other dead people with the same syndrome are brought to the hospital for their autopsies.

      There is one thing that all the victims have in common, and forensic expert Denise notices this when she examines their computer hard drives which the police have seized and sent to her. This common thing is that all of the victims within 48 hours of their deaths, have visited a very nasty website called Feardotcom that specialises in torture, murder and other bloody escapades.

      The hunt is then on to discover who is behind Feardotcom and the associated deaths.

      That very vaguely sets the overriding plot, so watch the film for yourself (at your own risk!) to find out more.


      The opening scene of Feardotcom grabbed my attention immediately. There was a very chilling atmosphere present down the subway where the main waits for his train. The raging thunderstorm happening is a severe one, and that in itself scared the living hell out of me (I'm terrified of them anyway, even on film!). The appearance of the little girl with long blonde hair, playing with a ball, adds a spooky touch of mystery, and that mystery continues when the environmental department is called to the scene after the man has been hit by a train whilst intending to save the child from the same fate.

      From that point onwards, Feardotcom wanders off into several entangled and badly mismanaged, utterly baffling sub-plots.

      The music isn't too bad at certain points, especially where now and again it oozes into some quiet piano, but the acting by the whole cast - particularly the female members - is merely adequate at best, and downright pathetic at worst. The only one who played their role reasonably well was Stephen Dorff as Det. Mike Reilly, and he certainly didn't make me gasp in awe at his sheer brilliance. He was average! I wasn't even impressed - as I usually am - with Stephen Rea!

      It is sad that a film which began so well and actually has a half-decent ending....I mean the very end rather than the build-up to it....is otherwise so appalling.

      Some of the special effects are quite clever, but in my opinion are over-used to the point where they do nothing to tart up an already badly flagging storyline, script and set of actors. There is far, far too much going on all at once, and from the ending of the good start, I was completely baffled right through the film. Another difficulty is that, like many modern-day American films, most of the scenes are shot in all but complete darkness and such doesn't assist the viewer in his/her attempts at trying to make head or tail of the perplexing entangled storyline.

      There is a serial killer element in Feardotcom, but due to it being handled so very badly to the point of sheer, utter ridiculousness, it makes even the most mediocre of films on a similar topic seem brilliant.

      Feardotcom could have been arranged, directed, produced and acted so very much better as from the outset, all the right elements are there to make a powerful horror film, but everything is so badly wrong that it all went astray....heaving off into bizarre directions that make little or no sense, all backed up by the terrible acting.

      I found it very difficult to sit through more than about 20 minutes of Feardotcom, but using the resolve of the damned, I somehow managed to complete the course. I feel that I definitely wasted 100 or so minutes of my life and I don't even think my DVD copy of this film could be donated to a charity shop, as I'd hate to be the person responsible for making it available to unsuspecting individuals paying 30p or so for what they may believe will be a really good movie.

      I read somewhere that Feardotcom managed to earn itself some kind of award for being one of the worst films ever made, and I wholeheartedly support that anti-accolade.

      In summary, if you like to be bored out of your brain to the point where you're chewing your elbows and thinking about consoling yourself with oceans of alcohol, then by all means give Feardotcom a watch - after all, the first 15 or so minutes is good, but the rest is truly, miserably, outrageously awful.


      At the time of writing, Feardot.com can be purchased on Amazon as follows:-

      New: from £2.96 to £20.99
      Used: from 67p to £19.77
      Collectible: One copy currently available @ £3.00

      A delivery charge of £1.26 should be added to the above figures.

      Thanks for reading!

      ~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~


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      • More +
        30.08.2010 13:09
        Very helpful



        Comes across as a cheap imitation of the Ring

        There is nothing more my fiancé and I like than getting comfy on the sofa at night and watching a good scary film. We came across FearDotCom in our local Blockbuster for just £2 and judging by the deformed looking 'human/doll' on the dvd's front cover, we were sufficiently satisfied that it would be a creepy film and right up our street. Anyhow, considering how cheap it was, we were willing to take the risk that it could turn out to be a rubbish movie.

        *~* Plot *~*

        The film centres round the mysterious deaths of four individuals in New York City. However, the common denominator linking all of the deaths is the fact that each of the deceased died 48 hours to the minute after logging onto one particular website - this being feardotcom.

        Detective Mike Reilly and Department of Health worker Terry Huston soon realise that in order to solve the mystery behind the strange deaths and catch the internet killer, they themselves must log onto the death site and become the next victims.

        *~* Main Cast *~*

        Stephen Dorff - Detective Mike Reilly

        Natascha McElhone - Terry Huston (Dept. of Health Worker)

        Stephen Rea - 'The Doctor'

        Amelia Curtis - Denise Stone

        Gesine Cukrowski - Jeannine

        Jana Güttgemanns - Little Girl

        *~* General Movie Information *~*

        Running Time: 101 mins

        Rating: 18 years and over

        Year of Release: 2003

        *~* My Thoughts on Fear Dot Com *~*

        Despite this film being released just after the Ring (2002), I can't help but feel that feardotcom is simply trying to be the internet version of it (or most probably its original Ringu (released in 1998)). The atmosphere created in this movie and even selected scenes from it are definitely comparable to the Ring. For instance, this movie also has a bathtub suicide scene, weird video, a determined number of days to live and a creepy little girl with long hair

        Nonetheless, I did jump at parts of this film and found some bits to be rather disturbing, namely the dead bodies and the torture scenes. In my opinion, the plot was very confusing and throughout most of the film I was left wondering what was happening. I was at a difficulty to try and piece the story together and work out how each part related to another.

        I just think that this film had the potential to be something great - a film about a website that kills people when they log onto it. Anybody would expect such a movie to be a hit and be as successful as The Grudge, The Ring and the likes. However, this film fails to hit the mark and I was left somewhat disappointed at the end. I found the ending to be a let down and extremely random. Had the film just kept the plot simple instead of taking the story off into many directions, I think that it would have been much scarier and would have been received better by viewers. In my estimation, this film just leaves the viewer asking questions rather than delivering a sufficient understanding of the story - which should be the main priority in any movie.

        The special features on the disc are not brilliant either. The bonus content mainly consists of the trailer for the film and also two trailers for two other unrelated horror films.

        Overall, it was just ok. However, don't watch this if you aren't into gore and movies that leave you wondering what was all that about? Lol. For £2 though, it was a decent enough film, but I would begrudge paying any more for it.

        This film can be bought from www.amazon.co.uk at the moment for £4.99

        This gets a 2 star rating from me.

        Thanks for reading!


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        • More +
          15.03.2010 21:41
          Very helpful
          1 Comment



          a psychopath and a deadly website

          Fear Dot Com (2002)

          Genre: horror/thriller/crime

          Writer: Josephine Coyle
          Dir.: William Malone

          Stephen Dorf - Detective Mike Riley
          Natascha McElhone - Terry Huston
          Stephen Rea - Alistair Pratt
          Udo Kier - Polidori

          A psychopath kidnaps women and, live, on the internet, he tortures them and then he kills them. Every person that visits his website, feardotcom.com, dies from their worst fears exactly 48 hours later. A cop, Mike, and an agent from the Department of Health, Terry, must find and stop the killer. With the help of a ghost Terry finds one of the victim's bodies. The evidence eventually leads them to the killer's location. They arrive just in time to stop him from killing another woman.
          Will they be able to rescue the woman and stop the killer before becoming victims themselves?

          My thoughts:
          This is not a very good movie. It may have been one of the first so-called "cyber thriller" movies that involves crimes being committed for the online audience. It's an interesting concept, but very poorly portrayed in this one.
          Sure, it has it's scary and thrilling moments, but they are very few and very far between.
          The movie was panned by critics, and with good reason.
          The movie has a decent cast, and all gave pretty good performances given the material they had to work with.
          Overall, this is not a good movie. I would certainly not recommend it and I say avoid at all costs.


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          • More +
            09.06.2009 01:39
            Very helpful



            Don't watch it, unless its on sky and there really is nothing else

            I will be hoenst I am not sure I can add more about this movie than the other people previously reviewing it, but I do need to ad dmy opinion to this movie to ensure that the star rating is accurate. Afterall the more that review it and rate it the more accurate we are.

            The movie out in 2002, was trying to bring out an idea of the internet being involved in horror and peopel being killed from it. While it was a novel idea only seen a few times prior to this movie, and having atleast a couple of good names in the movie, it is far from being fantastic.

            As a general plot outline what happens is a number of people are found dead from very mysterious circumstances, a disease at first is suspected, but nothign found, so the more believeable idea of them all happening to visit a specifc website 48 hours before they die must clearly be the cause.

            Naturally knowing this what do our main characters do? they visit the site, sorry but surely common sense dictates, if you suspect viewing a website will kill you, you wouldn't look would you, or you'd call IT Support and have them investigate, afterall thats what IT Support is for.

            ANyway only after our lead cop views this site about 30-40 mins before the end do the pieces start falling into place about why people are dieing, how they are dieing and what must be done to solve this problem.

            Typical end of horror movie ensues and hopefully this is one website that now has had its server taken down, afterall we wouldn;t really be that lcuky if we clicked on "I Feel Lucky" on Google with a seach for websites about fear!!!

            This movie certainly is not a mainstream film, the budget must have all been spent on Stephen Dorff, which they hoped would bring in some crowds. There are very basic special effects and to be honest while the story does follow through to a degree, you can always feel that somethign was missing from this movie, that should have been there.... what it is, I certainly can;t tell you.

            I am hating today I am reviewing a number of pretty bad movies, This is a movie not to see, if its on sky and nothign else on put it on, afterall I had to watch it and so should you to make your own opinion, but don;t spend a penny on it, its certainly not one you'll watch again.


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            • More +
              19.03.2009 23:28
              Very helpful



              Thanks For Reading

              Directed by William Malone, Fear Dot Com - with its tag line on the back of the DVD cover "One Click And You're Dead" looked and sounded like it would be a brilliant horror thriller. Further enforced by the fact that it stars Blade's Stephen Dorff, I was expecting an exciting and slick film that would be well worth the watch. Unfortunately (due to the reasons detailed below) Fear Dot Com fails completely, and has since earned a place on my "Avoid At All Costs" movie list.

              The idea behind this unoriginal "The Ring" wannabe is decent, and follows a series of gruesome deaths. The only connection between the victims seems to be a mysterious voyeuristic like website where you can watch people be tortured and murdered. This website for some reason then causes a number of people who have logged in to die within forty eight hours. It's up to a New York Detective and a health examiner to investigate the deaths, especially when they all appear to have died of fright. The plot came across as very confusion and disjointed, and also includes a mad scientist and serial killer, a drunk professor, and the ghost of a child.

              Despite being an obvious rip-off of The Ring as well as several other films, Fear Dot Com still had plenty of potential. The idea of using a website in the way that Fear Dot Com does, was a good one to say the least. The only part of The Ring which scared me was when Samara climbs out of the television. It's great to take a piece of technology that most of us use every day without a second though, and use it to scare us. I'm just waiting for the day where someone makes a horror film based on mind controlling killer computer printers (or something like that.) But despite a good idea and one or two other redeeming qualities, the lazy approach, copied and non-sense plot, poor acting, and other failings seriously suppress anything that maybe worthwhile in the film.

              I found the characters in Fear Dot Com, unbelievable and hard to relate too. I didn't think enough time or effort was put into their creation and development. Despite liking Stephen Dorff, I felt that he was the wrong choice for Detective Mike Reilly. There was no decent chemistry or human elements to or between the cast, and not enough information given on The Doctor (I wonder how long it took them to find that name up.) None of the cast seem to give a decent performance and at times even seem bored. I'm not surprised as some of the dialogue is hopeless, and a few scenes are just utter pointless.

              Not to forget that by the end of the film, things don't really make much sense. There is too much going on at the same time, and things are over complicated by taking a number of different ideas and throwing them together.

              There was a few concepts to the film I enjoyed. The first being the note worthy visual effects and great eerie atmosphere and tone. Also there are a few moments of tension that were handled well.

              But in summery Fear Dot Com is definitely below average, and I can't find any real reason to recommend that you spend one hour and thirty seven minutes of your life watching it.

              (I'm a reviewer on Amazon, and some my reviews are copied from there to dooyoo. Please feel free to check out my Amazon profile under my real name of Mr Andrew M Kerr.)


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                05.10.2007 07:58
                Very helpful




                When the body of a professor is found in a New York subway station, the police are baffled by the cause of death. The victim’s face bears a hideous expression, as though he has literally died of fear and he appears to have suffered horrendous hemorrhaging; his eyes are engorged with blood. The local environmental team is brought into investigate and police detective Mike Reilly partners up with Terry Huston from the health department to investigate what is going on. Contagion is soon ruled out, but when a delirious young German man is brought into the station Reilly is concerned to see the same hemorrhaging around the youth’s eyes. Within hours, the man is dead, his girlfriend’s body is subsequently discovered and Reilly and Huston find themselves with a mystery on their hands.

                Their only clue is the number 48, which was scribbled on the police cell wall by the German man shortly before his demise. There also appears to be a connection between all of the victims. They were all avid users of the Internet. With only a few clues to hand, Reilly asks one of his colleagues to investigate each of the victims’ computers to try and find out if they all have something else in common.

                They do. Each of the victims appears to have visited a site called www.feardotcom.com forty-eight hours before his or her death. Despite protestations from Huston the only way to try and find out what caused their deaths is for Reilly to log in to the site in person. But when he logs into the dreaded site he has no idea that he has unwittingly set about a chain of events that looks set to result in his own death. What is the connection between www.feardotcom.com and the mysterious “doctor” that has been sending Reilly letters? The Internet can be a dangerous place. Do you like to watch?

                Can you think of a good way to try and freak out your audience? How about taking something that generally gives comfort and entertainment and turning it on its head so that it becomes sinister and dangerous? This is what Feardotcom is all about and it continues the trend set off by My Little Eye that portrays a much darker side to the Internet.

                Sadly, Feardotcom fails miserably as a movie. One of its biggest problems is that it is all rather confused, comprising of several different ideas that are stitched together only very loosely. A good plot can be complicated but a bad one simply crashes and burns. To give you an idea of what it is that I’m talking about let me list the ingredients that go into this particular mix:

                - A crazed serial killer who abducts young women and tortures them with surgical instruments until they beg him to kill them.
                - A university professor who believes that he has discovered a secret power contained within the Internet.
                - A “snuff” subscription Internet site that enables anonymous users to watch people being murdered live online.
                - The murder of a beautiful young woman where the body was never found.
                - A chain of mysterious deaths whereby the victims appear to have died of fright and all suffered terrible bleeding from the eyes.
                - The ghostly figure of a small child holding a ball that appears and disappears in front of people.

                Do you see what I mean? It really is all a bit too much to take in. You could easily turn any one of these components into a story in its own right. Having them all together just seems misguided and clumsy and that’s exactly how I would describe this film. From the beginning it has a messy, almost amateurish feel to it. Where films are concerned, I tend to be very instinctive about them and if the first five minutes doesn’t attract me then I tend to lose interest. The first five minutes of Feardotcom felt cheap and full of clichés and I wondered whether I had strayed into a Scooby Doo sequel, so it was no real surprise to find that it was all downhill from there.

                Much of the film work is very lazy. The concept of www.feardotcom.com is in itself grossly underused. Although there is some intrigue around the nature of the site and the power lurking within it, the potential is never really fulfilled. We get hints of what has happened to the site’s users, but the climax to the whole thing is quite dull – I was expecting a revelation along the lines of the demon girl from The Ring but nothing like this ever manifested. Worse still, there seemed to be an endless barrage of sequences of flash photography and brief violent images. After the fourth or fifth outing, the whole thing started to wear really thin. With so many plot elements, Feardotcom was always going to be a very difficult thing to stitch together and the finished product certainly didn’t include any real suspense.

                Sadly, as a horror film, Feardotcom also fails miserably. The movie has an 18 certificate, which came as something of a surprise to me because there was very little in it that seemed to merit the severe certification. The violence is generally implied and there are only very brief glimpses of any gore or blood. Furthermore, the film is never scary; I cannot recall a single moment where I jumped or felt nervous. The film does manage to draw on several of those old “horror film hackneyed moments” though. When will Hollywood actually get real and portray a human being that is unable to hold its breath underwater for over three minutes? The film is also very inconsistent; the limited time period and power of the web site seems to be forgotten where our heroes are concerned.

                The cast doesn’t do anything to help the proceedings, either. Stephen Dorff is grossly miscast as the police detective Mike Reilly and would do well to stick with playing the bad guy. In Feardotcom, Dorff is as bland as he was sinister in Blade and it all seemed like a dreadful waste of someone whom I have previously always liked very much. Natascha McElhone is intensely irritating as the female lead and more closely resembles a L’Oreal model than she does a genuine heroine. Her faultless hair, impeccable skin and wide-eyed looks really seem out of place in this movie amd I’m quite sure that a more brooding, dark lady would have worked much better. Furthermore, there is absolutely no chemistry between her and Dorff, which is critical to the overall success of the story line.

                Feardotcom tries to be so many things that other films do so much better. If you’re looking for an intriguing “evil technology” story line then The Ring leaves this standing. For serial killer horror, look towards Se7en or The Bone Collector. For a disturbing “snuff” story line then go and find 8mm or My Little Eye. Feardotcom simply cannot stand up against the competition and what you are left with is a messy, quite pointless and frankly rather dull piece of cinema. Even the name of the web site irritated me. Who on earth would call a web site www.feardotcom.com? If they couldn’t use www.fear.com then they really should have changed the title. As it is www.yawn.com seems wholly more suitable.

                Not recommended


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                  17.05.2006 18:16
                  Very helpful



                  On the whole an average film best viewed on the television.

                  A New York City detective and a health examiner join forces when a series of gory and oddly a like murders take place.
                  The one thing that links all of the victims together is the fact that they all logged on to a horrifically vulgar website.
                  The only way to get to the truth and save another innocent life is for our two heroes to log on.

                  The writers of this film clearly copied the plot from the Japanese Ring: O films, the only difference being is that the victims have 48 hours to live after logging on to the site, where as the ring films you would die 7 days after watching the video.
                  The main idea of this film was to make people more aware of the potential dangers of the internet. As more and more of us are surfing the internet and the ever continual advancement in technologically there is always a risk of a minority of people using it to advertise their sick fantasies.
                  The film succeeded in making me more aware of what I do while logging on and the information I give out.

                  While not the most original of plots, the main actors managed to pull off credible performances. Stephen Dorff and Natascha Mcelhone were well casted as a troubled detective and a determined health examiner respectively. Stephen Rea was truly frightening as ' The Doctor' who has so far eluded our detective and enjoys torturing his victims live on the internet until they beg to die.

                  Full credit must go to the makeup and special effects team who did an excellent job on providing the haunting images of the victims and the death scenes.

                  With regards to the bulid up of tension, less is most definetly more as we only get to see flashes of the victims being tortured and then finally murdered. I quite liked this as opposed to full on gore, as I find that your afraid more of the unknown than what you can see.
                  What made this film even more creepy was witnessing the huge amounts of hits that the website got, where people payed to witness this torture.

                  The film is however hard at times to follow,as there are one or two loose ends that aren't tied up. This did leave me a little confused as to quite what was going on.

                  For instance we know very little about the ' Doctor' and why he does what he does. Also we're introduced briefly to a drunken professor, who believes he has found a secret power which is contained on the internet.
                  This is never taken any further and I was puzzled as to why that scene was included in the film.

                  Personally I think that the main characters needed to have been expanded on more to give the viewer a deeper understanding as to the events that led to this series of horrifying murders which would've ultimately dispelled any confusion.

                  The film also focuses on people's fears and this is how our victims meet there chilling end. There was no soundtrack to this film, but there was however the typical eerie classical music which was used to help build up the tension as our victims were made to face their fears.

                  William Malone the director of this film, has only made 2 films in the last 20 years, that being the 1985 film Creature and more recently 1n 1999, a remake of House on Haunted Hill. Due to this I felt he struggled to put together something different and appealing to today's horror fans, and I felt this lack of experience in directing films was his downfall.
                  The film was average to say the least although the messages it projected were powerful none the less.

                  What I did find rather disappointing was the poor sound quality throughout the film. Having watched this film on the television and DVD, which I expected it to have good sound clarity, I felt rather let down. Suffice to say at various points during the film; I had to use the subtitles as I was missing what was being said. The picture quality however was as clear and sharp as you would expect.

                  Special Features

                  Included on this disc you will find the option of listening to the film maker's commentary that I found better turned on, on a second viewing. My reason for this is when I watch a film I want to be able to take in everything that is going on without any distractions.
                  There is one deleted scene which shows one of the victims destroying some computers after viewing the site and then ultimately meeting his death. This in my mind didn't really need including as it told me nothing new about the murders, and was quite rightly cut.
                  The making- of featurette also failed to fully explain the film for me, although it was interesting to hear how the film came together and the aims of the film.
                  The filmographies and photo galleries were unnecessary as all they provided for me was info on what the main stars had been in before and snapshots of scenes and outtakes.
                  Last up was the theatrical trailer which really set the tone of the film and gave a glimpse of what to expect.

                  Overall opinion

                  What the plot was lacking in originality the film more then made up for this by providing plenty of suspense, believable main characters and an awareness of the dangers of technology when thrown into the wrong hands. What did let the DVD down was the poor sound quality in places which did knock some of the shine off, of the film.
                  If you liked ' The Ring' films then I would recommend this to you.
                  Also those of you who are technically minded will also find this film appealing. You get your fivers worth, but perhaps waiting to see it on the television would be a better option.

                  Technical details

                  Cert 18 - contains strong language, violence and scenes of torture.

                  Running Time 1hr 37 minutes
                  Available in all regions
                  Retails for £5 on Amazon, and in Woolworth's


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                    06.06.2003 19:44
                    Very helpful



                    A man chases a white haired girl onto a railway track before being run down. The post-mortem look of horror on his face portrays a horror far more extreme than simply being hit by a train...and then there's the matter of the perimortem bleeding from his ears and eyes. The girl is never found and no one else remembers seeing her. A German exchange student goes nuts and is dragged raving into a police station to cool off, his eyes are bleeding and a little later he is dead. Cause of death...unknown. A little later his girlfriend too is found dead in the bath having seemingly bled to death but no visible wounds and the look of horror on her face betrays otherwise. So starts Feardotcom. What do these three and those which follow have in common? The internet. We soon find the link between them all is a voyeur site called "fear.com" which allows its subscribers to tune in to watch the slow torture and murder of kidnapped victims at the hands of a sadistic doctor who both delights and is an expert in inflicting pain. It's the ultimate extension of fly-on-the-wall voyeurism but how is this liked to the apparent psychosis and ultimate bloody death of those who tune in? Who is the girl who seems to haunt their visions before hand and how can it all be stopped when the owner of the site and perpetrator of these kidnappings and murders has evaded capture for so long...? Such are the very beginnings of the questions posed to the pair who find themselves inexorably drawn to the case and naturally they can't resist the temptation to visit the site themselves despite their better judgement and are drawn inexorably into the insanity which will eventually lead to their deaths unless they can crack the mystery. Sometimes it's impossible to know where to begin with a review. I kinda liked this movie, but at the same time it's fair to say that its screenplay is such a horrendous mess and the visual
                    s so nightmarish that I can imagine a fair number of people walking out of the cinema in revulsion or not getting any further than half an hour into the DVD! It's also fair to say that at the last time of checking it was ranked at #70 in the Internet Movie Database's bottom 100 of all time based on user votes and had no positive reviews at the meta-critic site rottentomatoes.com so erm, you'll probably want to ignore me and anything else I might say here and just avoid it. Anyhoo, for those still interested, it's a horror movie and one which borrows liberally from one of my all time favourites, the very creepy Japanese movie "Ringu" in many respects. In that movie, watchers of a cursed videotape full of nightmarish imagery would die within a certain amount of time unless they broke the curse. The makers of Feardotcom are obviously fans too(and sneakily rushed their movie out in front of the Hollywood remake of Ringu in the States) as their movie follows upon very similar lines indeed, this time though upping the technological stakes by drawing the web into the mix. Internet based thrillers aren't exactly a new thing but I rather liked the way this one utilised the idea. If the plot outline I've given sounded a little confused then I'm sorry, the screenplay is one of the worst I've seen for a while...it really is a chaotic mess. It seems the writers had some great ideas, but lacked the artistry to actually craft a decent story around them so to get from one idea to the next they either just leap there with no explanation as to how we reached this point or cause our characters to take the most illogical (and outlandishly correct) guesses as to where the whole thing is going. For instance, a German exchange student and his girlfriend die with blood pouring out of various orifices and a look of terror on their faces. A video diaries they made the day before shows them cavorting around for 8 hours...oh and goi
                    ng online for 20 seconds...conclusion? Well naturally it means that they must have visited an internet site which kills them 48 hours later by building upon their deepest psychological fears apparently!! Err, yeah, obviously eh? Don't think that's an isolated incident either because it continues in the same vein throughout. This also gives rise to some of the dumbest horror clichés being recycled again, right down to the "whatever you do, don't go down into the basement"(this time, "don't log in to the website") scenario which is used not once, not twice but THREE times! Arghhh! And on the subject of recycling, if you've seen Ringu then you'll notice the similarities between this movie and that one and second guess everything to come 10 minutes before each supposedly 'twist' event is going to happen as well. On the other hand, the acting is fairly good for a horror flick and it's nice to see one which isn't populated by scream queen teens with push-up bras and $10,000 smiles for a change although it's fair to say the characterisation is virtually non-existent. We have a detective bloke(Steven Dorff) and a health inspector bird(Natascha McElhone) investigating, that's about as deep into their shoes as we get and a sadistic doctor who is erm, a 'sadist' and that's as far as we get with him too! The doctor particularly is a completely wasted opportunity because aside from delivering a few twisted speeches and quoting Stalin he is pretty non-existent throughout...he is also a totally unconvincing psychopath coming across more like a nutty professor so perhaps this was a good thing. I spent a lot of this movie mourning wasted opportunities because with a little tidying up of the screenplay and a bit of direction given to the cast it could have been so much better because there ARE some things to really like about it...if you are a fan of horror movies and have found all the rec
                    ent offerings to be a bit pants. The bottom line for those who DO NOT like horror movies or know they probably won't appreciate or give a flying toss about some of the clever imagery used throughout is that Feardotcom a nasty little gory mess and you're unlikely to find anything at all to like about it, give it one star and avoid it like 99% of movie critics seem to be suggesting you do...if it ever gets released here of course...I've still yet to see it on anything other than Region 1 DVD. ..and for those still here, I'll assume you do like horror movies and might find something to like about the movie. I've criticised all that's wrong with Feardotcom, which amounts to most of it to be fair but fans of the macabre amongst you will find some enjoyment from the twisted imagery you have thrown up before you. Feardotcom is a dire movie for the general cinema-goer who will be expecting a plot, will be expecting it to add up, will be expecting far less logical holes and contrivances, will be expecting dialogue which isn't so lame and will be shocked by gratuitous scenes of torture and murder depicted on the website(truth be told it's more hinted at than seen but ain't that always worse?). On the other hand, the rest of you will no doubt revel in the kind of imagery other horror movies promise and never serve up. It always amazes me the number of people who go to watch horror movies, find they aren't shocked, scared or repulsed but then complain again when one comes along which actually is repulsive, gory and all the rest of it! Feardotcom actually delivers on its promises which oddly seems to be one of the major complaints about the movie. Apparently it's sick and nasty but erm, what do you expect from a horror film? Maybe it's because the whole genre has been hijacked by teen screamers and the numerous slasher movies we've been miserable assaulted with since Scream inexplicably revived the
                    m that no one expects anything other than pantomime gore and cats jumping out of cupboards? Who knows. Visually, Feardotcom is one of the most impressive movies, particularly in this genre, that I've seen for a long time and if you allow yourself to be drawn in, it's also very creepy indeed...and in some ways very clever despite the chaotic screenplay. Feardotcom crafts its own nightmarish reality(kinda like David Fincher gets applauded for but no one else is allowed to do without a slating :oP), with a US city turned into a damp, brooding mass of seething decay and perpetual rain and darkness which fades into monochrome as the movie progresses. The encounters with the website give you searing millisecond flashes of squirming victims awaiting a living autopsy, wickedly sharp blades, darkened doorways, mutilated faces and sickly grey flesh with a temptress voice inviting you to delve deeper before showing you the voyeur's horrified reaction as a fatal dose of negative energy is transferred and the (off-screen) images intensify in horror. It is super effective without showing too much. Whatever your feelings on the movie, it is also conceptually ingenious(the execution is debatable but worked for me) in the way the website is shown to expand its focus as the movie progresses to blend with perceived reality as our protagonists fall under its 'curse' and slip into an unreality populated by their own fears which will eventually kill them. Towards the final 20 minutes you'll start to notice something very subtle has been happening throughout the movie since out investigators visited the site themselves. The city is becoming the website for those who have seen its contents. The visuals always tended towards being bleak and washed out yet now it is becoming progressively more obvious as the macabre and bizarre become part of 'real' life for them and the site extends its focus to encompass all around wreathing everything in
                    a mask of decay. The closing sequences themselves are pure genius visually, flawed in concept of course because nothing adds up in the slightest but it looks great and as nightmares crafted in reality go, this is one of the best recent depictions I've seen. On a platform of visual delight alone this movie kept me 'entertained'(for want of a better word ) from start to finish in spite of the horrendous short-comings elsewhere which let it down really badly. Generally, all the criticism this movie has received is well deserved but I do think many who criticised did so with any regard for the places the movie does excel in. Maybe this kind of thing is only acceptable when it is done extremely badly to the point where it becomes laughable as most horror movies are but not when it actually does horrify and repulse the viewer? It's certainly not a movie which will appeal to most, definitely deserves the 18 certificate it will surely get if it ever appears on these shores and probably deserves a 'guilty pleasure' tag for anyone who is more interested in submerging themselves in a freaky atmosphere and nightmarish visuals from the director who, to a lesser extent, brought you more of the same in the remake of The House On Haunted Hill. I liked it, fans of macabre horror movies will find much to like amongst the things to hate as well but everyone else is well advised to give it a miss. I think that sums up its appeal.


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                    Fear Dot Com is a total-dot-mess, but at least it's a stylishly graphic frightfest that die-hard horror buffs will probably appreciate. As he did with his 1999 remake of House on Haunted Hill, director William Malone favours trippy atmosphere at the expense of acting, character development and plot. Belatedly jumping on the Internet-thriller bandwagon, the film follows a brooding detective (Stephen Dorff) and a public-health inspector (Natascha McElhone) as they investigate the deadly influence of the titular website, which channels the innermost fears of its visitors until they die of fright 48 hours later. Why 48 hours? Don't ask; Josephine Coyle's screenplay is as incoherent as Malone's grasp of narrative momentum, leaving Dorff and McElhone with little to do but look frightened and doomed. But Fear Dot Com has its moments, especially after mad doctor Stephen Rea's gruesome villainy is fully revealed, and the proceedings take on the monochrome pallor of silent German expressionism. Too bad these fantastic visuals weren't servicing a better movie. --Jeff Shannon

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