Fear (1996)

This howler of a thriller stars the Artist Formerly Known as Marky 
Mark as a young psycho who seduces and later terrorizes a 16-year-
old high-schooler (Reese Witherspoon).  She's a nice girl from a 
nice family who learns too much too late about her seemingly sane 
boyfriend.  Good afternoon, Mrs. Cleaver.  With better casting, 
director James Foley (GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS) might've had something 
here.  He picked a good pair for the parents-- Amy Brenneman (HEAT) 
and the always reliable William Petersen-- and that's about as far 
as he got.  Ms. Witherspoon has no screen presence to speak of, 
while Underwear Boy is a hollow creeper, at best.  (And he looks a 
good ten-years older than his character!  Oh, how we could've ended 
things early if Dad had just spoken up and said "for Christsake, 
Nicole, he looks like he's thirty!")  Completing the terrible 
triumvirate is Alyssa Milano, wildly overacting as Nichole's slut 
girlfriend (a.k.a. the Bad Influence).  Yes, they're unwatchable, 
but the story is so mercifully straight-forward that you may find 
yourself getting caught up in the camp.  A surprisingly engaging 
ending also keeps the film from collapsing on itself.  If there's a 
single redeeming feature to speak of, it's that the story is a 
virtual primer for teenage girls on how to identify a predator.  Of 
course, they *could* just listen to their dads...  (Rated "R"/95

Grade: D+

Copyright 1996 by Michael J. Legeros
Originally posted to triangle.movies. as The Smell of Fear Stinks

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