What an effing waste of time. I'm glad I didn't pay for this. I knew from the first moment exactly what was going to happen. Not even the presence of William Petersen and Reese Witherspoon could save this stinker. It is so over the top that it doesn't even serve as a lesson for teenage girls about the dangers of dating much older guys. Yes, some guys who prey on teenage girls might be possessive and even abusive but very few of them are murderers and rapists, not to mention home invaders. Way overdone. Don't waste your time like I did mine.
I've never been one for 90's and early 2000's movies as I often find a large number of movies produced in this Era to be corny and have minimal special effects and good movie scoring. I enjoy many of the new special effects in today's movies, although not always needed, it adds another element. But if a movie has a good plot, keeps a good pace and keeps the audience's interest throughout the film then special effects can easily be overlooked. I agree with the reviewer of "The Boy Next Door" movie that the original (this movie) is much better in terms of the story and plot development. This movie is proof that you don't need annoying special effects such as constant rolling bass similar to the Paranormal Activity movies to capture the audience's attention. I'm always happy to find a good movie and am pleasantly surprised when I find a good 90's movie. The plot of this movie was well written and the execution was great. Excellent plot development as Mark Wahlberg's character slowly escalated his aggressive and controlling behavior as opposed to similar movies such as "The Boy Next Door" which the controlling behavior was immediate. That slow progression of control and aggression made it much more realistic, along with the actions taken, In "The Boy Next Door" the ending was very dramatic but unrealistic in this type of character while the ending of Fear was made a lot more sense. If there are going to be remakes of this movie, then do it right and take great notes of this movie of how the "remake" movies should be done.
Even though this film might be categorized as a guilty pleasure, it still contains excellent early performances by Mark Wahlberg, Reese Witherspoon and a maturing Alyssa Milano. Production value is high, so this is definitely not a B-movie. The well-developed plot is a familiar one - good girl meets great guy who ends up being a psycho. But the lack of originality doesn't take away from the interesting progression of the movie. Directing, editing, writing and acting are still top notch. And, even though Wahlberg's character ends up going off the deep end, he portrays a believable 'normal' guy in the beginning, even providing an intense roller coaster service early in the movie. He made a pretty good psycho, as well. I enjoyed the film and would even watch it again.
When FEAR slipped in and out of our collective consciousness in 1996 with all the impact of a school board election, the critics' near-unanimous cry of "cheesy thriller" was followed by the sound of the cineplex door hitting the picture on the butt as it made its way to oblivion.
Well, yes, FEAR is a cheesy thriller, and it's also formulaic, cliched, hysterical and even downright silly. But all of that misses the point. Unlike most formulaic, cliched, hysterical and silly movies, FEAR has enough sex, swagger and thrills that you can still respect yourself in the morning after spending a lurid night with it.
Like any charming piece of trash, Fear is best appreciated if you decide at the outset to give wholly in to it (a prospect which shouldn't, in and of itself, disturb anyone who thought Independence Day was a major work of motion picture art). Giving in to the movie isn't just a matter of accepting that it's a hokey cross of FATAL ATTRACTION and THE WILD ONE, though that is undeniably part of the fun. Nor is it just a matter of finding out whether underwear model Marky Mark Wahlberg can act (which he can, some). No, giving in to FEAR is a question of embracing the unthinkable, of considering the possibility that a remake of CAPE FEAR with Wahlberg in the Robert De Niro role and William Petersen standing in for Nick Nolte might actually be an improvement. Seriously. In large measure, FEAR is more satisfying than CAPE FEAR because Wahlberg is a more cuddly villain than De Niro and Petersen a less likable putz than Nolte.
Where Nolte is dashing and able, Petersen is aptly wan as an architect whose career is accelerating a tad beyond his capacities, whose second marriage (to an innocuously cute Amy Brenneman) is crumbling, and whose teen daughter (Reese Witherspoon), the issue of marriage number one, is blooming sexually and increasingly eager to act on her new urges. Into this tenuous menage saunters Wahlberg, looking smashing as David McCall, a local hanger-out who's part altar boy and part psychotic. He literally seduces Witherspoon, and figuratively seduces her stepmom, her half brother and the family dog. Only Petersen, who understands David's predatory masculinity all too well, resists the guy's charms, and sets off a hair-raising rivalry, with Papa Bear trying to defend his little cub from the New Young Buck on the Block.
Thankfully, FEAR glides along with a big dumb grin on its face, utterly unaware that it's about any such thing as male domination, and therein lies its appeal. This same blissful ignorance also makes Fear a better bet on video than it was a theatrical film. Go to a theater and watch Wahlberg stalk a suburban family and you might start wondering if someone's dosed your Pepsi; watch a Wahlberg film on video and realize that it's actually about something, and you feel pretty good about lying around the house in your sweats on a Saturday night. Don't get me wrong, of course. In the end, as Fear winds its way from moderately engaging psychological thriller to ludicrously over-the-top siege movie, you'll find yourself, howsoever absorbed, grateful not to have spent "E" ticket prices for what is little more than a mental kiddy ride.
The fact that FEAR works as both pure cotton candy and intriguing horror show is attributable most of all to director James Foley, who's a frustrating talent as likely to produce silly camp (WHO'S THAT GIRL?) or ponderous contrivance (GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS) as chilling drama (AT CLOSE RANGE) or compelling pulp (AFTER DARK, MY SWEET). This time, he's generally on the mark. He's got an appreciative, voyeuristic feel for teenagers (look at his 1984 directorial debut, RECKLESS, an archetypical young-teen-on-bike-gets-laid movie, for a similar pattern), and in FEAR, Alyssa Milano is particularly piquant as Witherspoon's slutty best friend. But Foley's always been a guy's director with a knack for getting performances from young leading men: Sean Penn, Aidan Quinn and Jason Patric have all done solid work with him, and he gets some real moments out of Wahlberg (who has since stunned the world with further evidence of acting talent starting with BOOGIE NIGHTS and culminating in an Oscar nomination for THE DEPARTED. Go figure!)
So, sure, give in to FEAR for 90 minutes or so of cheap pleasure, but don't expect it to be anything more than what it looks like: a Mark Wahlberg movie. Which isn't so much to say that it sucks as to register surprise that there's as much good in it as there is.
WAHLBERG WAS CONVINCINGLY FRIGHTENING. BEING OLDER AND OLDER, SEXY AND SEDUCTIVE TO A 16 YEAR OLD GIRL. HE WAS A CONVINCING PSYCHOPATH WHO EASILY SWITCHED FROM THE SWEETEST BOY NEXT DOOR TO CROSSING THE BOUNDARIES WITH HIS OBSESSION WITH THIS YOUNG GIRL.