We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
Strange, how good "feardotcom" is, and how bad. The screenplay is a mess, and yet the visuals are so creative this is one of the rare bad films you might actually want to see. The plot is a bewildering jumble of half-baked ideas, from which we gather just enough of a glimmer about the story to understand how it is shot through with contradictions and paradoxes. And yet I watched in admiration as a self-contained nightmareformed with the visuals. Not many movies know how to do that.
I'll get to the plot later, or maybe never. Let me talk about what I liked. The film takes place in a city where it always rains and is nearly always night, where even people with good jobs live in apartments that look hammered together after an air raid. Computers and the Internet exist here, and indeed telephones, televisions and all the other props of the present day, but windows are broken, walls are punctured, lights flicker, streets are deserted, and from time to time a dramatic thunderstorm threatens to sweep everything away. This is like "Dark City" after a hurricane. It is the kind of city where a man can walk down into a subway and be the only person there, except for a little girl bouncing her ball against the third rail. Or ... is the man really alone? Is that his fantasy? Whether it is or not, he gets slammed by the next train, and the cops are startled by the expression on his face. It looks, they agree, as if he has just seen something terrifying. Apparently something even worse than the train. And he is bleeding from the eyes.
The film's premise is that a Web site exists that channels negative energy into the mind of the beholder, who self-destructs within 48 hours, a victim of his or her deepest fear. Our first glimpse of this Web site suggests nothing more than a reasonably well-designed horror site, with shock-wave images of dark doorways, screaming lips, rows of knives and so forth. The movie wisely doesn't attempt to develop the site much more than that, relying on the reactions of the victims to imply what other terrors it contains. And it does something else, fairly subtly: It expands the site to encompass the entire movie, so that by the end all of the characters are essentially inside the fatal Web experience, and we are, too.
The last 20 minutes are, I might as well say it, brilliant. Not in terms of what happens, but in terms of how it happens, and how it looks as it happens. The movie has tended toward the monochromatic all along, but now it abandons all pretense of admitting the color spectrum, and slides into the kind of tinting used in silent films: Browns alternate with blues, mostly.