Feardotcom (2002)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Police Detective Film, Tech Noir  |   Release Date - Aug 30, 2002 (USA)  |   Run Time - 110 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Derek Armstrong

Fear Dot Com is the kind of movie in which the characters all share the same brand of web browser, and it uses this unlikely gothic-horror typeface whether they're logging into the deadly website of the title or, in theory, their grandmother's homepage. Fear Dot Com is the kind of movie in which a health department worker (Natascha McElhone) swims down into the depths of a swamp poisoned by chemicals, underneath a decrepit factory, because she suspects there might be "something" there -- and lo and behold, she discovers a body. Fear Dot Com is the kind of movie that laughably botches a potentially chilling concept, but at least it's not an original one -- the movie may have beaten the The Ring to theaters by several months, but it certainly rips off Hideo Nakata's original Japanese version, Ringu, with a killer website substituting for a killer videotape. William Malone's film is a turkey alright, but not because it fails to generate flashes of disturbing imagery that might haunt a person under the right circumstances. What's seen here is, in ways, more fulfilling than the watered down Luis Buñuel footage from The Ring. Rather, Fear Dot Com is undone by a cavalcade of logistical failures and moronic plot contrivances like the ones enumerated above, which totally validate the need for a good continuity editor. Presiding over the whole enterprise is a conductor of operatic psychosis played by Stephen Rea, who prates on with platitudes about "liking to watch" and "the power of the Internet" in an accent that sounds like a madhouse John F. Kennedy. Fear Dot Com might actually kill you within 48 hours -- death by incredulousness, indifference, or sheer disgust.