Amazingly, that description applies to two different
movies in the past couple of months. FearDotCom closed October 27th,
Solaris opened about a month later. Apparently that is the only kind
of movie McElhone makes.
Fear Dot Com isn't otherwise similar to Solaris. It
is edited with rapid cuts, is dark and Fincheresque, and features
people who speak at normal speed, but think much slower. It is
incomprehensible because the plot simply makes no sense. (Solaris makes some
sense if you think about it, but by the time a character responds to
another, you've forgotten what the previous character said, and you
just don't care to put it together.)
The basic premise of the film is that feardotcom.com
(yes, that's really how it is written) is a snuff web site. Not only
does the webmaster kill victims live on a web cam, but some other
force mysteriously kills anyone who visits the site. I think the idea
is that the site is haunted by the ghost one of the former snuffees,
who kills the subscribers for supporting snuffitude. But don't hold me
to that interpretation. The infinitely
world-weary Stephen Rea is the snuffmeister, performing here in high
As usual with web sites in movies (see Rollerball),
the subscriber count goes up immediately, instantly, when something
exciting happens on camera, even when it is unexpected There's no indication of how the
non-subscribers could possibly know what is happening on camera at
that very moment, thus impelling them to subscribe.
According to IMDB, McElhone was in another movie
between Fear Dot Com and Solaris, something called City of Ghosts. I don't know
anything about it, but it was directed by Matt Dillon and stars Gerard
Depardieu, which tells me just about everything I need to know. Ever.
FearDotCom (2002) is, as near as
I can tell, a double horror film, both related to a Web site,
feardotcom.com. Horror one is a mad doctor (actually a medical
school washout) who tortures bound women until they ask to be
killed, then obliges them. The second horror is the ghost of one
of his victims who haunts the Internet, killing people who log
on to the site. At least, that is my best guess as to the plot.
The director indicated that he intended it to be a little
ambiguous, and that his real aim was just to be scary. He also
prided himself on making the darkest film of all time.
I absolutely hated it. First of all, when I watch a movie, I
like to see the movie, not dark shadows in dark places. Second,
the set decoration was 1930's New York, which was a little out
of place with an Internet Horror film. Third, the film was full
of logic errors, and finally, I never really felt any sense of
peril or dread.
Report: by Mr Grundy
FEARDOTCOM is a 2002 film with stunning visuals,
but nothing really scary... just like most horror movies. Homage
was paid to the little girl with bouncing ball that Fellini gave
us in SPIRITS OF THE DEAD, who in turn was inspired by "bouncing
ball" imagery from Mario Bava... but at least these little girls
were spooky. The little girl in FEARDOTCOM is just a little girl
they dressed in a wig, with no sense of foreboding whatsoever.
This is a movie where it's very difficult to
identify the lesser-known actresses. I see from checking in the
archives that my fellow Scoopers may not have called some gals
correctly. For example, the main victim of Alistair Pratt (the
mad doctor, as played by Stephen Rea) is identified in the
credits as either "victim" or "Alistair's Victim." Which to
choose? Regardless, this blond woman has either been
misidentified in the archives as either Astrid Skuyat or Evie
Garratt or Gesine Cukrowski or Amelia Curtis. (I figured I'd
ought to mention these names, in case people run searches in the
future, trying to pin down which face belongs to the breasts.)
She is really Isabella Van Waes (according to someone who
listened to the DVD commentary; I only had the silly video), who
was also misidentified as the other victim seen bound and
hanging for just an instant. Anna Thalbach has also been
misidentified for Emma Campbell.
This is a tough science, trying to figure out
who's who... just to get things right, I can spend too much time
trying to see whether an unknown is called by a name, hoping to
cross-reference with the end credits.
- Amelia Curtis plays Denise Stone, a
computer expert. She appears semi-nude in her damsel in
distress scene. Curtis appears to have concentrated her career
mostly in television; she did bare her wares in an exercise
entitled "South West 9" (2001).
- Isabelle Van Waes is a Flemish lass who is
selected as a possible "leading lady" by a creepy videographer,
and she walks into a seemingly abandoned warehouse. Her career
in real life does not appear to have proliferated after this
screen debut, but unlike her disastrous film career in the
snuff movie within the movie, there's always tomorrow.
- The miscellaneous nudies are Astrid Skuyat
(probably) and Emma Campbell.
- IMDB summary.
The people generally agree with the critics at one and a
half stars. Voting results: IMDb voters score it 3.6/10, Yahoo voters appraise it at 2.2/5, and Metacritic users averaged
Box Office Mojo. It was budgeted at $40 million for
production, and opened in 2500 theaters. Opening weekend $7
million. total: $13 million.
Scoopy awards for excellence in criticism go to:
Orders of merit in information
and accuracy: Jonathan Perry, a movie critic centered in Tyler,
Texas, wrote a
comprehensive summary and review which is one of he best
movie reviews I've ever read.
Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly.
film squanders every opportunity (and international-coproduction
cent) on by now imitative Nine Inch Nails-video-style visual
|The meaning of the IMDb
score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of
excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars
from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm
watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars
from the critics. The fives are generally not
worthwhile unless they are really your kind of
material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics.
Films rated below five are generally awful even if you
like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one
and a half stars from the critics or even less,
depending on just how far below five the rating
guideline: A means the movie is so good it
will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not
good enough to win you over if you hate the
genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an
open mind about this type of film. C means it will only
appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover
appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you
like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if
you love the genre. F means that the film is not only
unappealing across-the-board, but technically
inept as well.
Based on this description,
C-. Great looking film, which may motivate genre
fans. Others: stay away, because the plot is incomprehensible,
and the film's attitude is depraved, unpleasant, and just plain
ugly. Tuna says: D-