Fear (1996) Mill Creek Blu-ray Review



For the young adult crowd as much as for adults who enjoy films like Fatal Attraction and other erotic thrillers, Fear makes a solid impression.


A teenage girl falls hard for a seductive creep who has the power to ruin her life and destroy her family.



16 year-old Nicole Walker (Reese Witherspoon) has a more or less normal life as a teenager: A loving, if controlling father (William Petersen), a stepmom (Amy Brenneman) who tries her best, a younger brother, a dog, and a best friend (Alyssa Milano) who is constantly trying to push the envelope in terms of how they can stretch their boundaries with boys and not get caught. When Nicole goes to a nightclub with a friend, she ends up meeting a handsome and very seductive young man named David (Mark Wahlberg) who by the end of the night will have swept her off her feet and given her just a taste of great possible things. He seems kind, attentive, asks all the right questions, and doesn’t push too far. She’s on cloud nine. She gets scolded for staying out too late, but it doesn’t matter. She’s all in. Her friend starts a heavy physical relationship with David’s creep friend (an easy sign that David isn’t a “good” guy because his friends are creepy losers), and over the course of a few weeks, David presents himself to Nicole’s family and wins everyone over … except her father, who sees right through him for what he really is. After investigating him, he finds out that David is an orphan and has bounced around the foster care system for years and has done some time in juvie, but none of this matters at first to Nicole, until the fateful moment when he harms her in an overblown misunderstanding. It’s enough of a red flag for her to dump him, but this only accelerates an obsession he has with her. He stalks her, becomes overly aggressive, and soon Nicole realizes that he’s been lying to her about a lot of things, including the fact that he’s sleeping with her best friend, but it goes much deeper than that. Nicole is in for a world of hurt when David kills one of her good school friends, and then sets all his might on taking her by force and eliminating everyone else in her family who would try to stop him. The climax has David and his dangerous friends laying siege to her house and stopping at nothing to get what they want.


A hard “R”-rated teen erotic thriller that pushes into unsettling territory with its strong direction by James Foley, but without becoming overly exploitative. There’s no nudity, but there’s plenty of sensuality and eroticism, which works for the film’s benefit. Wahlberg is perfectly cast as the lethal lothario, and it’s easy to see why someone as naive and innocent as Witherspoon’s character would fall for him. The on-screen chemistry is good, and the violence, while sometimes shocking (dog lovers stay away), is strong but effective. For the young adult crowd as much as for adults who enjoy films like Fatal Attraction and other erotic thrillers, Fear makes a solid impression. Filmed in 1994, but shelved for two years.


Mill Creek’s new Blu-ray of Fear doesn’t have any special features, but comes with a VHS-style slipcover. The high definition transfer is adequate, if unremarkable.