Movie Review – fear dot com (2002)

Stephen Dorff Tracks A Website That Can Kill

March 30 2007 Categorized Under: Movie Reviews No Commented
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Fear Dot Com (2002)
Directed by: William Malone
Starring: Stephen Dorff, Natascha McElhone, Stephen Rea, Udo Kier

Star RatingStar Rating (out of 4)

<em>disappointed in the American Idol finale</em>

disappointed in the American Idol finale

fear dot com is the kind of horror movie that is 75% derivative and 25% wasted potential. There are scenes that stand out for their striking nightmarish quality, but these are scenes that belong in a better film. Stephen Dorff plays a cop who is on the trail of a serial killer who taunts him with occasional letters. There is no real fleshing out of the back-story involving the relationship between cop and killer, but no matter.. the bulk of the movie concerns a website which kills the viewer 48 hours after accessing it. Apparently, the unfortunate surfer ends up dying from his/her greatest fear, but even this plot point seems underused and glossed over – one can imagine fabulous death sequences involving one’s worst fears, but, with the exception of one clever sequence where a computer expert dies from a multiple onslaught of bugs (get it?), I suppose we’ll have to make due with the Elm Street movies.

<em>Shoulda ran the GNU Debugger</em>

Shoulda ran the GNU Debugger

It seems that the director decided to throw bits of other films into the mix, and stir them around, hoping for a brand new concoction; there are elements of old silent horror movies, bits of Videodrome, StrangeLand, Seven, and even some of the anime series Serial Experiments Lain. Yes, of course, the movie is a total ripoff of the J-horror flick Ringu (no coincidence that this movie and The Ring were made around the same time in 2002). In addition, the technological side of this killer-web-site scenario is barely touched upon – why, for instance, is there no attempt to track down the source of the website? (Does anybody know how to do a traceroute anymore?) The philosophical undertones of the film are reduced in importance to throwaway ramblings by our serial killer (“We will provide a lesson that reducing relationships to an anonymous electronic impulse is a perversion”), and abandoned in the end to a simple track-down-the-killer horror film. While there are interesting elements scattered throughout, the end result is not worth the download time – if you’re looking for a movie about a virus-in-the-wired, try the aforementioned Japanese items, or Ghost in the Shell; if you want merging-of-the-virtual-and-reality, see Videodrome; if you want a good noirish serial-killer movie, go with Seven.

– Bill Gordon

<em>lonelygirl15 gets out of hand</em>

lonelygirl15 gets out of hand

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