Sign up for our free newsletter
Free D.C. news, delivered to your inbox daily.
A man’s car goes Christine on him, locking him inside and racing to a crash that fatally projects him through the windshield. His wife, interviewed shortly after, cries to investigators that “he worked himself to death.” This logic is brought to you by feardotcom, a tedious, nonsensical mess of a horror movie whose very viewing is akin to A Clockwork Orange-like torture. There are a jumpy health inspector (Natascha McElhone: “Someone’s gotta do it—otherwise disease just spreads out of control!”), a really dumb cop (Stephen Dorff: “Shouldn’t leave your front door open—it invites illegal entry”), and a mad scientist who likes to broadcast his abuse of women on the Internet (Stephen Rea: “My days of Oscar nominations are clearly over”). You shouldn’t bother asking questions—though “Has anyone heard of lights?” would be a good one—because in the end, you’ll find that even your most basic assumption is wrong: There’s been some killin’ going on, but the online “fear site” that all the victims have visited is not the same gig that Dr. Evil is running and that, in jerky, confusing flashes, has been the focal point of the movie. Getting rid of this bastard, in fact, entails some suspenseful logging on to the apparently rival Web site that gives this film its title. Up until then, you’ll suffer through bad and even conflicting dialogue (“Leave me alone! How do you play?”), comic overacting, and unexplained plot developments, including one ludicrous scene in which the health inspectress, on the advice of a white-eyed homeless woman, dives into what looks like a giant sewer and comes up clutching a decomposed corpse. The utter badness of feardotcom, though, at least detracts from the pseudo-sexual message at its core (something about voyeurism and sadistic desire), which means that any of the film’s imaginable fans can be accused of no worse a fetish than liking to be bored. —Tricia Olszewski