Re-watching Fear

Fear is a film from 1996 with a two young actors getting their start in the movie business. I think both of them have done pretty well since this film. Mark Wahlberg was more well-known for being a rapper at this time then an actor. This was his first starring role after having a few supporting roles. Reese Witherspoon had a few starring roles under her belt by this time, but most where in low-budget films. This was these two stars introduction to most film goers.

Our two stars were put in pretty good hands with James Foley directing, coming off directing an all time classic Glengarry Glen Ross. Foley has had a pretty good career in the thriller and neo-noir genre. With some classics under his belt and a few misses this one falls somewhere in-between. We also have veterans William Petersen and Amy Brenneman playing Witherspoon’s parents. Alyssa Milano who had already been in the spotlight quite a bit by this time in her career stars as Witherspoon’s best friend.

Fear starts out with our two best friends accompanied by their male friend to a coffee shop in the wrong part of town. This is where Wahlberg catches her eye. We soon realize that Witherspoon lives in an overprotective house while her best friend runs free. Wanting a taste of her friend’s freedom, she soon joins her to go to a party. Here she meets and talks to Wahlberg and after a fight breaks out and the police come in, Wahlberg is her knight in shining armor as he leads her out of the mayhem to safety. A young romance starts until Witherspoon sees a side of Wahlberg that scares her. He is violent and bets up her male friend out of jealousy. This starts a chain of events which pits Witherspoon’s father, played by Petersen and Wahlberg against each other for the love of Witherspoon.

I really liked this film when I watched it back in the 1990’s and after re-watching it I still do. After revisiting it, I can see glimmers of greatness to come. I thought Wahlberg was great as the psycho boyfriend and have always enjoyed his work. Witherspoon  shows her charm and you easily side with her in this film. I also thought Milano was great as wild and free friend that makes some bad choices. Petersen is always good in these thrillers as the average joe that rises to the occasion.

This film is worth watching for fans of Witherspoon, Milano and Wahlberg. It is also a must see for fans of Foley. If you are looking for a modern noir thriller it is worth a look.

Re-Watching Pathology


So I was going down the list of movies classified as neo-noir on IMDb, to see if I can find any hidden gems I wasn’t aware of and to see what films I wanted to re-watch and review on this site.  Quite aways down this list I noticed this movie, Pathology.  I thought “I remember that movie!”  I originally watched this film back in 2008 when it came out on DVD for two reasons, fairly good reviews from horror fans and it had Alyssa Milano in it.  From what I remember I liked this film and thought it was an above average horror movie and Alyssa wasn’t in it as much as I would have hoped.  I would have never thought of this film as a neo-noir though.

On a second viewing I wanted to see why this would be classified as neo-noir and if I would agree.  So here are the elements I picked up on that would make it a neo-noir.  We have a lot of shadow and washed out grey scenes that look almost black and white.  There are a lot of shots filmed from a ground eye view, popular in noir.  We have a femme fatale played by Lauren Lee Smith that sucks our protagonist in.  Our main protagonist gets in a situation that is way over his head and very bleak.  This gives us the sense of doom that all good noir movies posses.  We have heinous crimes committed, though these crimes are not committed for profit like most noir.  There is not a very happy ending, just like most great noir.

This story starts with a gifted doctor, our protagonist, Ted Grey played by Milo Ventimiglia.  He leaves his girlfriend played by Milano to go study Pathology at an unnamed prestigious city morgue.  There he meets a slightly socially awkward Ben played by Keir O’Donnell.  Ben is an outcast and not accepted by the in-crowd led by Jake, played by Michael Weston and includes Smith’s femme fatale character.  Ted is slowly drawn into the popular group of gifted pathologists with nights of drinking and drugs.  They soon drag Ted into their sick game of killing people and then having the others in the group figure out how they did it.  This is just the start of the dark journey we go on.

A few great smaller parts played by Larry Drake and John de Lancie were very entertaining.  This is written by the writing team of Neveldine and Taylor who also brought us the Crank movies.

So is this film a neo-noir?  I think so, it definitely has horror elements, but mostly these are because of the gore, we are dealing with people who cut dead bodies open to see why they died after all.

I think this little film is worth watching for horror fans and noir fans alike.  It’s a pretty good story with a few like-able characters and a lot of unlike-able ones.