Unlike most of our other Terribly Awesomes, which make the cut thanks to their never-ending semi-intentional camp, Fear is bad in a this-is-genuinely-mediocre-but-I-can’t-stop-watching way.
My friends and I were semi-David about it back in Grade 7. We would watch it literally every time we had a sleepover. And sometimes, we’d even reenact our favourite scenes at recess in front of our Fear-less friends. Yeah, we were really cool.
One time when we were watching it, my friend’s grandmother came in and confronted us, saying “You know, this is not real love.” We weren’t sure if she was talking about the relationship on screen, or our relationship with the shit-tastic Fatal Attraction wannabee movie itself. But either way, we had our answer.
Why it’s terrible:
– It takes itself WAY too seriously. Yes, it’s a movie about abuse and abuse is horrible and terrifying, but there’s no need to dub a sweeping Carter Burwell score over every non-happy moment. Or make the titles look like this.
– For a movie called Fear, it’s not very scary. I mean sure, there’s some creepy scenes involving David’s bedroom decor (More on that in the Awesome section) and personal grooming/hobo tattooing habits (Ditto). But it’s all so 14A Lifetime movie lame. Most of the bad stuff is merely alluded to, making it hard to believe Nicole and her closest friends and family won’t make it to the end credits, alive and well. If you want to see Reese in real danger – watch the even-more Terribly Awesome ridiculousness that is Freeway. Believe or not, but Elle Woods was a badass back in the day.
– Apparently, Mark Wahlberg really likes to suck face. Literally.
– MAJOR SPOILER ALERT/VEGETARIAN TURN-OFF: David makes only one real kill – and it’s a dog. Sorry, but in my book, pets are only allowed to pass away for medical reasons in movies. Otherwise, it’s just excessive.
– Nicole meets David at a shady rave in an abandoned warehouse. It supposed to be really romantic and sexy. But it just makes you want to go have a cold shower. And reminds you that it’s actually a great thing you weren’t a teenage hipster in the 90s.
– Alyssa Milano is really unlikable as Nicole’s BFF, Margo. She flirts with every guy she sees – including Nicole’s dad – for no real reason! Plus, she falls for this hobo.
– Nicole’s step-mom is all worried about David, but she really should be taking a second look at herself. She’s a verbal maniac. Case in point: her response to Nicole’s rave outfit: “Take off that make-up! You look like a slut!”
– Nicole keeps hanging out with David after his friend makes this totally creepy gesture – while Margo is busy giving him a hickey. Um, what?
– Instead of calling the police on David after he confronts Nicole in a bathroom stall in the mall and vandalizes his car, her dad decides to fuck up his place of residence. Cause that’s not going to cause any violent confrontation between your family and a group of angry, jacked druggy thugs.
– Speaking of idiotic decisions, Nicole gives David the code to her house so he can sneak in for a late-night, 14A snuggle. Yeah, that doesn’t come to bite her in the ass.
– The soundtrack was never released. And it totally would have featured a Marky Mark song called – wait for it – “The Illest.” Plus, let’s not forget about the 1997 winner for Best Song at the MTV Movie Awards – “Machinehead” by Bush.
Why it’s awesome:
– William Peterson – yes, that guy from CSI – is Steve, Nicole’s dad.
– Alternative tagline: #1: With a boyfriend like this, who needs enemies? NOT YOU.
– Alternative tagline #2: The attraction was obvious. The Danger [Note: This shit is so serious – it has to be capitalized!] wasn’t.
– David is 2 in luv w/ proper spelling.
– David is also in love with talking like Fozzie Bear. Every time he says Nicole’s last name – Walker – it comes out “Walka.”
-We start to realize David is a bad boyfriend when he reveals – he has a compulsive clock changing habit! When Nicole says she’s got a curfew the first time they’re hanging out, David takes her wrist watch in his hand and pulls an 80s Cher. A few scenes later, he messes with Steve’s clock before taking Nicole out for the night. REBELLIOUS.
– Mark is shirtless. ‘Nuff said. (This was the Calvin Klein era, bitches!)
– The token shamelessly overdone line that qualifies the vague title (David to Steve): “That’s what this whole thing’s about, Steve. Your inadequacies. Your fears.”
– They go so overboard with the Nicole being jailbait bit it’s amazing. Her hair is always perfectly messed up. As her dad says at one point, I’m sure her clothes looked great – when she was 12. Hello crop tops, micro minis, mary janes and knee highs!
– David on Nicole’s looks: “I was taught if something’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t.”
– David to Steve: ” I also know you ain’t keepin’ up, so to speak, your end of the bargain with the missus. ‘Cause if you were she wouldn’t be all over my stick.”
– Steve to David: “If you don’t disappear from my family’s life, I’m gonna rip your balls off and shove ’em so far up your ass they’ll come out your fuckin’ mouth! You got that, my friend?”
– Immediately after hearing that line, David starts beating his chest like Tarzan. We learn later that he wanted to make himself looked bruised so Nicole would think her dad beat up him – but at the time, it just seems ridiculous.
– Father-daughter bonding moment – over memory loss and terribly computer jokes!
Nicole: I don’t think there’s a thing that’s ever happened – or not happened, for that matter – that I don’t remember. You’re the one who blocks out the past.
Steve: Nicole, I don’t block out anything. It just takes longer to… sort through 40 years of… data than it does 16.
Nicole: Maybe you oughta consider upgrading to a faster chip.
Steve: [laughs] You know, sometimes you’re pretty funny.
Nicole: I have my moments.
– The message David leaves on Steve’s battered car.
– The big “romantic” scene involves David pleasuring Nicole while on a rollercoaster at a random amusement park to the sounds of the Sundays’ cover of “Wild Horses.” Kinda gross. Kinda awesome.
– When Steve visits David’s room, pre-destructo-mode – he isn’t instantly alarmed by the weird angel photo that David’s put Nicole’s face over. Or her panties hidden in a wooden box. No, the thing that makes him mega mad is that he stole Nicole’s bracelet and changed the engraving from “Daddy’s girl” to…
– Margo’s response to Nicole telling her she lost her virginity to David: “You’ll always remember your first, not your second, not your third, just your first.” Uh Margo, I think you need to start watching your drinks.
– In case you didn’t know David was bad-ass, there’s a Chucky doll hanging out on his mantle. Oh, and he drives a recalled car (Corvair alert!) – that could explode at any minute!
– There is a Bollywood remake of this homicidal/hormonal hell of a hot mess. Actually.
– Mark’s angry-as-shit face.
*All screencaps captured via the Universal DVD*