By Garth Franklin

Warners has cornered the low-budget highly gorey horror film genre in recent years with the likes of "House on Haunted Hill" and "Thir13en Ghosts" which proved decent but lacklustre scare pics. Now comes "Fear.Com" which has hit the bottom of the barrel and makes one wish they could reach for the 'Delete Key'. The aforementioned Dark Castle pics had a good cast hamming it up, interesting concepts/sets, and at least tried to look slick and interesting whilst never taking itself too seriously. 'Fear' on the other hand just comes across as a bad straight-to-video effort at best, exploitation and plain dull at worst.

Shame really, Director William Malone seemed to know how to handle material when he did the recent 'House' remake which had numerous good jumps. Here the dark gory stuff on-screen isn't scary but will make you turn away in repulsion, not for the actual gore on screen (which is admittedly brutal) but for the fast MTV video music tone in which its constantly thrown at you - by halfway your hoping for a epileptic seizure to hit you and end the nausea. Dorff & McElhone, two actors who've shown they've got the goods in films like "Blade" and "Ronin" just sleepwalk their way through roles, Jeffrey Coombs is in what is pretty much his first forgettable role, and Rea is reduced to an utterly forgettable psycho killer role which reminds one of a similar thriller along this level that disappointed -Neil Jordan's woeful "In Dreams" (at least that had nice photography).

Had there been a decent story to hang all this on it may have been salvageable but instead it borrows a lot of elements from a dated horror flick called "Ghost in the Machine" released a few years back, worse still the script and editing chop and change so much that not a whole lot of it makes sense. One minute our heroes are calling for backup who say they'll be on their way, the next minute they find their backup long dead yet weren't they just talking to him? Other scenes where gashes suddenly disappear or people come to life result in some of the most visible continuity errors since, well "Pluto Nash" the other week. The ending does pick up the very languid pace slightly but its too little too late. Once again this shows that whilst the internet is a great way to promote films, its not something which films should base their stories on. :-( :-( :-(