Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Tribeca ’16: Fear, Inc.
you make a Xerox of a Xerox, the sharpness starts to blur. The same thing is
true of hipster hat-tips. Horror fans loved the original Scream film because it signaled to fans that it shared their genre
enthusiasms through references to cult classics. However, by using Scream as its touchstone, this film
essentially refers to the references. What does that really boil down to? In
this case, an abrasively obnoxious protag, who unfortunately is not the first
to die in Vincent Masciale’s Fear, Inc., which screens during this
year’s Tribeca Film Festival.
Foster is a lazy stoner who leeches off his attractive, well-heeled, gainfully
employed girlfriend Lindsey Gains. It is impossible to understand why she would
put up with him, except as some sort of wish-fulfillment for screenwriter Luke
Barnett. Horror movies and rolling fatties are about the only things Foster
knows, but he is quite the expert in both.
he is more than intrigued when he hears about Fear, Inc., a shadowy company
specializing in immersive horror experiences, even though they have a
reputation for taking gigs way too far.
You could ask his best bud’s boss about that, had she not been killed in
the prologue. Does that remind you of any other films?
Foster’s Fear, Inc. experience seems to be starting up while that ever-patient pal
and his wife are staying as houseguests. Foster just can’t tell for sure,
because gruff customer service rep told him they were booked solid. Thus begins
a maddening cycle of derivative reversals, all which all down to: “this is all
just a game, but not this part here, except actually it was too, etc., etc.
during the entire film, viewers are just waiting for the next changeroo, while
Foster’s man-child behavior turns our stomachs. Even the timing for Fear, Inc. is problematic, considering
it premiered at Tribeca well after Rich Fox’s purported documentary The Blackout Experiments divided
Sundance. While Fox’s film has its issues, the supposedly real life people who
develop a psychological dependency on the services of a similar (but not
homicidal) outfit are more compelling and the abuse they willing take (both
physical and emotional) is far more disturbing.
impossible to overstate just how annoying the lead character is. It is one
thing to create an extreme persona, but as Foster, Lucas Neff is like
fingernails on the blackboard. His relationship with Caitlin Stasey’s desirable
and down-to-earth Gains strains believability well past the breaking point. Is
it also never clear how Fear, Inc. maintains it operations, since they hung up
on Foster before he could properly book his services. If a shadowy cabal wants
to be evil that is all well and fine, but screenwriters have to establish a
clear plan to monetize their villainy.
Fear, Inc. is not half as clever as it thinks it is, which gets to be a big problem.
Frankly, most viewers will be at least four steps ahead the characters right
from the start, even while some will appreciate its knowingly ironic Kevin
Williamson attitude. Not recommended (yet still more watchable than several of
this year’s Midnight selections), Fear,
Inc. screens again tonight (4/23) and tomorrow night (10/24), during the
2016 Tribeca Film Festival.
Labels: Horror Movies, Tribeca '16