Watch It

On DVD: Now | On Blu-ray: Now

Fear Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 38

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Patrick Z. McGavin

    A movie as unsubtle as its title suggests, Fear is too seriously intended to work as trash and too ungainly and ugly to register as entertainment. [15 Apr 1996]

  • 50

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    A kinetic, visually dazzling thriller that's actually a notch above many of its predecessors - albeit only a small notch.

    Read Full Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 17+

Violent creepy-boyfriend thriller without helpful takeaways.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Fear is a "creepy boyfriend" thriller in the Cape Fear and Fatal Attraction mode, but geared toward teens. It's filled with violence, including fighting, use of weapons, murder, and a severed dog head. Teens are seen kissing and exploring in a sexual way, and eventually having sex. Other sexual situations are not so safe. Language is strong, including several uses of "f--k." One minor character uses crack and a teen girl regularly smokes cigarettes. Teens might be interested in seeing younger versions of actors Mark Wahlberg (then about 25) and Reese Witherspoon (about 20), but the material is probably too strong for any but the most mature teens.

  • Families can talk about the movie's violence. In what scenes is it thrilling and in what scenes is it terrifying? How does the movie accomplish these different moods? What would th emovie have been like without the onscreen violence?
  • Why does Nicole trust David? What message does the movie send about relationships? Does it seem an accurate message?
  • Is there anything more Nicole's father could have done in this situation? Is there any point at which Nicole would have listened to his advice, or did she need to learn this lesson on her own? How can parents protect their kids while allowing them independence too?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: This movie has very little good to say about the nature of relationships. Nicole is a "good" girl, but she winds up trusting the wrong guy and pays a huge price for it. Margo is a "bad" girl, and she also ends up paying a price for her choices. Aside from Nicole's father, and her friend Gary, the men in this movie are violent and possessive.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: Nicole is arguably the most upright character here, but despite a good head on her shoulders, she winds up becoming involved with a violent psychopath, often choosing to believe his lies rather than accepting her family's help. Nicole's father seems to be a good man, but he's often seen working, and/or preoccupied, instead of spending time with his family.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: The David character beats up a teen, kicking him while he's down, and slaps the Nicole character when she tries to intervene. He murders both offscreen and onscreen, sometimes with a gun, and sometimes with his bare hands (neck-snapping). He also kills the family dog and shoves the severed head through the doggie door. Aside from that, he threatens and intimidates various characters. A fight breaks out at a dance club, and various weapons are used during the climactic struggle (including a power drill to the hand, and stabbing in the back).

  • sex false4

    Sex: David and Nicole kiss passionately, and often. He touches her between her legs. They have safe sex in a bed, while her parents are out (a condom wrapper is later discovered). Margo gives a grinding lap dance to her older boyfriend. Later, a horrified Nicole witnesses as David violently seduces her best friend Margo, grabbing her buttocks, and dragging her away for implied, offscreen sex. There's also a brief same-sex kiss and a brief view of a nudie magazine.

  • language false4

    Language: "F--k" is used several times, and "s--t" is heard at least once. Additional words include "boobs," "slut," "bitch," and "Jesus" as an exclamation.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false4

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: A friend of David's is seen smoking crack. Teen Margo smokes cigarettes, and there is some drinking.