William Malone, who last brought us the pathetic HOUSE ON HAUNTED
HILL, a remake of an already bad movie, tries out a new story in FEARDOTCOM,
which is almost as trashy as his last picture. How he manages to
attract reasonably good B-list actors to his projects remains a mystery.
I will, however, go out on a limb about FEARDOTCOM and disagree with
what many others have said about it. It isn't quite one of the worst
movies of the year. It's just merely very bad.
A cautionary tale about the hazards of surfing to the wrong web site
-- in this case one with a "live death cam" -- it is a by-the-numbers
horror picture, featuring cockroaches, blood, thunder, little girl
ghosts and old dial phones. Malone seems to think that all he needs
to do in order to create fear is to turn down the brightness knob
on the camera and turn up the grain. The result, however, is more
ugly and indecipherable than it is frightening.
The confusing story involves a web site than causes red eye. Forty-eight
hours after visiting it, the viewers' eyes start bleeding, and they
die with something like Ebola virus symptoms. Stephen Dorff (BLADE)
plays Mike Reilly, the detective investigating the deaths, and Natascha
McElhone (RONIN) plays Terry Houston, a health department inspector
who is working with him on the case. Stephen Rea, from THE CRYING
GAME, is Alistair Pratt, the story's villain.
As you wait for the ending credits to put you out of your misery,
you can enjoy the cheesy and unintentionally funny dialog. "So, do
you like working with bugs and viruses?" Detective Reilly asks Inspector
Houston. "Someone's got to do it," she replies with sincerity. Perhaps
the best/worst line of the picture comes as Pratt tortures one of
his victims before killing her. "I'd like to say, 'I can feel your
pain,' but I can't," he tells her. I wonder if the director has any
sense of the pain he inflicts on the viewers who either have to endure
his films or waste their money by walking out on them.
FEARDOTCOM runs a long 1:38. It is rated R for "violence including
grisly images of torture, nudity and language" and would be acceptable
for older teenagers.
Copyright © 2002 Steve Rhodes