Fear Dot Com - Region 1 DVD

Starring: Stephen Dorff, Natasha McElhone & Stephen Rea
Warner Bros
RRP: $26.98 (USA only)

Certificate: R (UK equivalent of 18)
Available now

A police detective is haunted by the fact he has failed to apprehend a sadistic killer known as The Doctor, who tortures his victims live by webcam over the Internet. When a number of bodies turn up, the individuals having died of their deepest fear, their only connection is that they all visited a website called feardotcom.com. The only way to determine the truth is to visit the site. The detective teams up with a city health inspector to discover that the angry spirit of one of The Doctor's previous victims is seeking revenge on the voyeurs as well as the killer. Suddenly, the pair have only two days to find the woman's body and stop another tragedy before they also become victims...

With the UK release of this film still scheduled for June, we already have the dvd version on region 1. Fear Dot Com tackles the urban myth of snuff movies, which emerged around the era of video nasties and was brought more to the public's attention with movies like David Cronenberg's Videodrome. Although there is no documented evidence of a genuine snuff movie, the subject matter for the plot does highlight how the Internet could be misused for depraved exploitation.

There is no doubting this is an extremely well made flick. The performances from the leading couple is spot on, the script as tight as it can ever be on celluloid, the sound quality superb, and the moody lighting (the real star here) used to great effect.

However, just like The Exorcist, this is not a film you really enjoy watching; it just seems too real. This one is like an X-rated version of Killer Net, the Lynda LaPlante mini-series screened on Channel 4 a few years back. The images are gristly and often surreal, many of them coming in abrupt flashes and off-kilter camera movements. It's a film which tries to play with your mind; in other words, you think you see more than you actually do. Perhaps as a follower of horror I recognised the director's objective, but unless you're used to reality-based psychotic horror, give this one a miss.

Extras are sparse: a commentary by Director William Malone and Director of Photography Christian Sebaldt; Feardotcom: Visions of Fear, a short featurette; and The Mushroom Factory, a deleted scene devoid of sound effects and music.

Ty Power

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