"Fear Dot Crap"
Written: Jan 25, 2003
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.
I know most of you probably saw the trailer for this movie, as my husband and I did. Oh, you remember: Seductive woman on a website screen asking, "Do you want to play with me?"; a little blonde girl dressed in white and bouncing a white ball; cool net graphics of blades and blood; and of course, blinking strobe lights and a couple of scared people going through them. Looked pretty cool, right? Looked cool to us, too. Looked like an original and horrorfying concept: a website that kills people. Looks are deceiving. While the original concept is there, the plot, character, filming, and intrigue are so lacking that the premise just couldn't save the movie.
By the way, after I viewed that nifty trailer a few times, and thought of how Hollywood's shanked me before, I begun to grow leery of how good the movie really would be. After all, while I was seeing a lot of great visual clips, I was seeing just the premise but no plot. My interest plummeted even more when a friend e-mailed me shortly after "Fear Dot Com" hit the theaters, saying that she and her husband "saw a really crappy movie this weekend. Don't remember the name of it, but it was the one about computers and the Internet that was supposed to be really scary. It wasn't. It was one of the worst movies I've ever seen."
Still, my hubby wanted to see it, and there wasn't much else in at the video store (No interest here in seeing such cheesy and overrated popular icons as "Men in Black II" or "Airbud"). So being big horror movie fans, he, my mom, and I checked it out.
First of all, the cinematics in "Fear Dot Com" are the worst I've seen since those in "Kiss of Death" (Kiefer Sutherland, Samuel L. Jackson) and the first five minutes of "Terminator," in the latter of which we never actually could see much of anything until after the hero and Schwartzenager both took the clothes of the people in the first of the movie. Of course, "Terminator" at least quickly transcended to viewable scenes and saved itself b/c the rest of the movie was terrific. Not "Fear Dot Com," though. Almost all of the film is too dark to see much of anything, including the "action/horror" scenes that were supposed to be exciting. The only parts that are adequately enough lit for the viewer to see were those that took place in the police station, which are unfortunately so boring that they could put a rabid dog to sleep.
The movie's second downfall is its lack of character development/intrigue. We see a bunch of dead people who have mysteriously died from what looks like a virus but isn't, according to a forensics specialist who gets way too technical for average viewers to follow. We don't see any of the victims deaths. We learn nothing of their characters other than their names and their apparent causes of death. We are given no reason to care about them and thus don't. A male detective and another female forensics expert are brought in to investigate the case. They are our protagonists, supposedly the folks we root for, but nothing happens or is shown to make us care about them either, even when they exchange a quick hug and then the camera flash forward to them in bed together (Female and male investigator partnered in a case and end up falling for each other--is this trite and overdone or what? Ho-hum). This really is the typical, slow murder investigation formulaic fiction contained in many such snoozeful and forgettable flicks as "High Crime" and "Murder by Numbers." It's boring, it's unoriginal, it's tired, it's been done, and it doesn't interest me in the slightest.
Third, remember that girl in white bouncing the ball in the trailer? Well, that's pretty much all we see to scare us, that and a few hundred cockroaches crawling on one investigator. Okay, I admit I don't like bugs much, but that bug scene was one that seemed to be attempting to evoke the intrigue and gross-out of the bugs-in-the-cave scene in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom." Except of course, I couldn't actually SEE much of what was going on because of the aformentioned poor cinematics, and neither could my husband. We were sort of like, "What's that moving on the floor? Oh, is that supposed to be bugs? Oh yeah, okay." And whereas I can concede that bugs in and of themselves are scary to myself and to other people--even invisible bugs in this movie--little blonde haired girls are not. Of the few victims we did see, all were freaking out over this little girl like she was Jason Voorhees or Freddy or something. I got that she was supposed to be a ghost, but please...little kids just AREN'T scary period. Well, unless of course they're hacking people up like in "Children of the Corn" or "The Good Son." I mean, didn't the lack of horror in the "Sixth Sense" teach us that just plain kids, or even slightly supernatural kids aren't scary unless they're killing people or eating corpses or something? And if you say "SS" WAS scary, much less this stinky movie, I've got news for you,: You're living under a rock, and I hope for your sake that you never encounter anything REALLY frightening, like a serial killer, butchered body, demon, or even a black cat (yes, even a black cat is scarier than "SS" and "Fear Dot Com")--you just might have a heart attack and die!
And speaking of that trailer, the advertisers portrayed that like it was a bunch of cool scenes from different parts of an exciting movie. Wrong! Hollywood hath lied again! That trailer was made up of two scenes. One is when the undeveloped female investigator says to the equally undeveloped male investigator, "Promise me, no matter what, you won't go on that website." (Oh, and I must mention that this happened a minute or two after these same characters were talking about how they didn't know the name of the site. If they didn't know the name of it, how the heck could the guy go on it? Sounds like another one of those "Dahmer" type mysterious plotholes to me!) The rest of the artistic and computer graphic clips from the trailer all happen in one place--when the male protagonist does go on the site anyway. Then he falls backward, and the clips from the trailer flash before us--yes in the same nonsense, no plot order. And I don't know why they were there, b/c due to the poor cinematics yet again, I couldn't tell if our "hero" was passed out, viewing them on the computer, or what? It seemed to me like they just stuck those scenes in there to have something cool to put on the trailer to say that it was part of the movie; clearly, the movie had nothing else cool to advertise and was desperate.
I can't give away the ending for this one, folks, for I fell asleep about halfway to three-fourths of the way through, just after Mother did. My husband toughed it out, and my mother woke up just b/f I did, which was also just b/f the piece of crap ended. Both of them said that it was "cheesy" and "snoozeful," which is basically the rating I had given it to start with, just b/f falling asleep.
In conclusion, the movie was boring, tongue-in-cheek, slow, and so forgettable. Even the cool premise and the crazy doctor running the site couldn't save the movie. The film would have been much better had we gotten to see more of the characters developed, more of the web surfers in the act, and less of the boring detective shop talk. Truly, the only thing to fear in "Fear Dot Com" is that you'll waste a couple of bucks on it, and that moviemakers/screenwriters have become so uncreative that they will continue to subject us as viewers to crap like this. Maybe the movie itself, and even a real website created based upon that depleted creativity fear, should be called "Fear Dot Crap."
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Viewing Format: VHS
Video Occasion: None of the Above
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age