3097. Fear (1996)

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6.1 Not so unsettling
  • Acting 6.4
  • Directing 6.0
  • Story 6.0
  • User Ratings (0 Votes) 0

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Mark Wahlberg, William Petersen

Director: James Foley

Running Time: 96 mins


Fear is an American film about a wealthy family whose life is threatened when their daughter begins dating a mysterious young man.

A film that promises a lot but delivers little, Fear frustratingly relies on superficial shock value in exchange for any kind of genuine tension or eeriness, and despite a wealth of on-screen talent, fails to grab you at any moment.

Starring a young Reese Witherspoon and Mark Wahlberg, along with a collection of strong supporting stars, there’s no doubting the quality of some of the talent on show here, but the screenplay gives the actors very little to work with.

For the most part, Fear is a film that relies heavily on one-dimensional, stereotypical characters, from the perfect young woman (Witherspoon) to her brutish boyfriend (Wahlberg), without spending much time developing them and their relationships with one another and everyone else involved here.

That’s in part down to an understandable desire to get things moving as quickly as possible – after all, most people don’t want to sit through half an hour of character exposition before the action gets going in a thriller – but it’s also down to a clear laziness on the part of the screenwriters, who are more interested in gratuitous and simplistic storytelling devices than real, engaging depth.

As a result, the film is frustratingly superficial from the start, and never really tries to tap into the deeper, darker forces at play in its story, leaving the explanations and twists to come much later on when the film has found itself time to spell it out for you.

Without much in the way of tension, eeriness or even particularly energetic pacing, Fear is a really underwhelming thriller that forgoes the opportunity to keep you hooked at every moment. For the most part, it’s just a series of chaotic sequences with tenuous links and little depth from start to finish. So, that’s why I’m giving the film a 6.1 overall.

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About Author

The Mad Movie Man, AKA Anthony Cullen, writes articles and reviews about movies and the world of cinema. Since January 1st, 2013, he has watched and reviewed a movie every day. This is the blog dedicated to the project: www.madmovieman.com