This is a mixed bag, because the movie had hints of potential leaking out, but with all the disappointments, things just kind of plodded along. On one hand I'd like to say it was an above average suspense/thriller/horror but on the other hand, is my natural intuition to mock every single scene. As usual, the movie trailer makes the film appear to be really edgy and suspenseful with clips of people in fright and weird visions of a little white haired girl. I see that it stars Stephen Dorff and Udo Kier. Well, kind of. Mr. Kier is in the movie for about a minute. The plot is simple. After logging on to a website, you die 48 hours later. Yes, I know...that sounds cheesy, but you got to suspend your critical thinking abilities and play along with the rest of the children.
One by one, people around town start to die of what at first appears to be some type of new pathogen. Immediately the Health Department is called in to investigate and discover that it's nothing they've seen before. After some super-sleuthing by New York City Detective, Mike Reilly (Stephen Dorff) and tall slender Health Department babe, Terry Houston (Natascha McElhone), they discover the victims are dying 48 hours after visiting a website. This poses a few questions. Why are they dying? How are they dying? And the question that kept racing through my head was, "How do thousands of subscribers who eventually die know about this webcam site that keeps moving around?" There are definitely some excellent jump-out-of-your-seat moments, and the atmosphere is generally composed of dark and gloomy nighttime scenes. Lots of gratuitous breast shots, and lots of torture segments. The host of the FearDotCom website is played by Stephen Rea, and even though he's reputed to be some great actor, his abilities were more along the lines of the guy who replaced Dr Francis B. Gross in the Faces of Death series. Horrible and Embarrassing. The big finale had some impressive visuals and CGI, and it really could've led up to a decent closing...but the end left me wondering why certain characters died who went to the site, and others didn't. Again, that was the whole idea that was beat into your skull: "48 hours later...you die". I'm no big time Hollywood writer, but I probably could have came up with a better ending.
Overall, too many questions were left unanswered, especially this one: "What the hell is up with the final scene leading up to the credits?". The movie definitely had some great cinematography and quality scares. In it's quest to be Se7en, it falls way short of the mark, but it is a few notches above Shocker or Ghost in the Machine. By the way, why does every movie involving computers use overdramatic text displays and graphics to show what is on the monitor. When you see the web browser used in the movie, you'll understand.
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