17 August 2011

Re-watching "Fear (1996)" 15 years later

Warning: There are many 'spoilers' in this 'review'. I you haven't seen Fear. I suggest watching it before reading this, especially if you are a 7 year old. If you have seen Fear, I suggest re-watching it as you read this as a kind of live commentary.

I remember watching Fear when I was around 6 or 7 years old. I have fragmented but distinct memories of watching it in my living room with my family on our old 20 inch TV. We were either watching it on TV or we had picked it out from Blockbuster, but my brother kept mentioning how it was new. He would have been about 13 or 14 at the time. My parents were always pretty good about letting us watch R rated films as small children. This was probably due to my dad's open animosity towards "childish cartoons", and so I ended up watching movies like Fear and Con Air before I could read (I only learned to read in grade 2, my parents were worried).

Right now I am watching it online off a movie streaming site. Reese Witherspoon is taking a shower. I remember not anticipating that this was going to be a scary movie despite the title "Fear" (remember, at this point I still could not read very well). The dad is jogging, he seems very fit and happy. His shirt is baggy in a way that was acceptable for men in the 90s. He comments on Reese Witherspoon's short dress, the family seems disconnected, the dad is a very busy business man, it seems painfully cliche. I remember not knowing what a cliche was or who Reese Witherspoon was when I was 7.

Looked it up on IMDB.com while I wait for it to load more, as this streaming site is very slow. It has a 5.9/10 rating on IMDB. That seems really bad. I remember it being a good movie overall even though it scared me a lot. I anticipate that I will not be scared or think it's good overall this time.

Reese sees Mark Wahlberg playing pool. His chest and upper arms seem way too big. I picture him wearing a muscle suit like Micheal Cera did in that one episode of Arrested Development. I remember having a big crush on Mark Wahlberg for the first half of this movie the first time I watched it. Alyssa Milano is also in this movie. She was in Charmed. She does not look like a highschool student. I googled her. She was 24 when this came out.

I switched to another streaming site because the other one was too slow. She goes to some sort of 'rave' after her dad cancels plans with her to see James Taylor. Alyssa Milano is dancing with a dirty looking older man. Mark Wahlberg looks very cute and wholesome in comparison. The dirty looking older man starts a fight at riot ensues. Mark saves Reese. At this point I remember thinking things like "He's so awesome and brave" and "I want a boyfriend just like him". He listens to her painful childhood stories, he seems sensitive. He starts kissing her, it looks like he's trying to eat her face. She comes home, her step mom calls her a slut.

She brings him home to meet her family. He charms everyone but the dad. The dad is seems skeptical. Mark Wahlberg catches the dad checking out Alyssa Milano when she bends over. It seems he has some social leverage over the dad now. Mark and Reese go to a fair. He fingers her on a rollercoaster to the song "Wild Horses" covered by The Sundays. I remember being acutely aware of the fact that I was too young to understand what was going on here.

Later, the parents go away on a trip and Reese invites Marky Mark over, directly disobeying her dads rules. She gives him the pass code to the house and he shows up in the middle of the night. Foreboding music is playing as he snoops around and finds a necklace that say's "Daddy's Girl". Suddenly, he has no shirt on. I remember thinking "Daaaaaamn", or the 7 year old equivalent of that. They have sex. The next day he beats up her male friend Gary for hugging her. He pushes her when she tries to stop him and gives her a black eye. I skip over some scenes with Reese Witherspoon crying.

After a while, they make up and the dad is disturbed about this. The dad confronts him and tells him not to see his daughter anymore. Mark starts hitting himself repeatedly in the chest as the dad drives away. I remember thinking he was pretending to be a gorilla in some misguided act of defiance. He was actually bruising himself to frame her dad. She takes his side but later finds out he slept with Alyssa Milano. I feel myself losing interest completely at this point and take a break to get a drink. I come back and I skip over some scenes with Alyssa Milano crying.

Mark Wahlberg tattoos "NICOLE 4 EVA" on his chest with what looks like a dart and the ink from a ballpoint pen. I spit out my drink a little laughing. There is really intense music playing.

There is another scene of confrontation between Mark and Gary. Gary later takes a short cut through the woods, alone. Predictably, Mark follows him into the woods and kills him. At one point he flips Gary comically though the air like in a Jackie Chan movie. I think, "nice guys finish last", then "that's a cliche saying", then "nice guys get beat to death in the woods by Mark Wahlberg". I remember being extremely shocked by this scene as a kid. I hadn't seen many on-screen killings except maybe in the Lion King.

He wrecks the dad's car. He stalks and corners Reese in a mall bathroom and says that she has to "use the one thing that can hear the real me" and points to her crotch. I laugh through my nose exactly once. I remember thinking "he's so intense" as a kid, and kinda wishing someone would stalk me too. I don't think I was listening/understood what he was saying at the time.

Some other things happen to escalate the plot and then it's the final break-in scene. This scene really scared me as a kid. It's the standard, "push all the furniture against the doors and oh no the phone lines are dead" break-in scene, but it was the first one I remember seeing, so I was freaking out. I think I cried. Right now I am just kind of bored and want this movie to be over.

I never got how moralistic this movie was when I saw it in 1996. There is one point near the end where he casually shoots his friend in the head for hurting Reese, which is supposed to make him look even crazier, but I remember thinking he was really sweet for defending her like that. I think I was a late to learn the concept of morality, along with reading.

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