Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Fear (1996)

Directed by James Foley. In addition to this film, quite a few movies have been described as a "teen 'Fatal Attraction'" (2002's "Swimfan;" 1993's "The Crush;" and of course, 1998's "Devil in the Flesh"), though I tend to think of "Fatal Attraction" as "Fear" poorly lacking in Reese Witherspoon. And to be completely fair, "Fatal Attraction" also suffers from excessive amounts of Michael Douglas.

"Fear" is about the Walker family, who, like most American families during the '90s, live in Seattle. Also common to most American families during the '90s, the Walkers are trying to bond following years of dysfunction and estrangement. Nicole Walker, now 16 years old and beautiful, is sweet and pure but feels as confined and sexually curious as anybody her age (Witherspoon was 21). When she meets David (Mark Wahlberg), who is devilishly charming, she's putty in his hands.

This is why, Nicole's dad, Steve Walker (William Peterson ) is arguably the main character in "Fear." Wahlberg's nutty character is far more interested in Nicole's sexuality as a way to unravel her father's paternal masculinity. Director Foley ("Glengarry Glen Ross") makes sure Wahlberg's rage is driven by his character's own daddy issues, not Nicole's daddy -- and certainly not their budding romance, creating all kinds of mad, stalker weirdness.


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