Complex of Fear (1993)
No Fear and Not Complex
A serial rapist watches an apartment block from the woods before striking, he does it again and again and the cops are baffled as they are unable to catch him. Sounds like it could be a tense, suspenseful thriller when sadly in truth "Complex of Fear" is rather ordinary, lacking that key element of suspense. Some may say so what do you expect from a TV movie made back in 1993 but other than failing to create the right atmosphere it is a competent thriller in fact its portrayal of a cop's obsession to catch a rapist makes it more interesting than you might expect.
Newly weds Ray and Michelle Dolan (Hart Bochner and Chelsea Field) move into a complex where one of Ray's fellow cops also lives and they quickly fit in to the friendly little community. But then a serial rapists starts targeting the women in the complex and it gets to Ray, he feels it is his job not just to protect his wife but catch the guy and when he fails after spotting him in the woods he starts blaming himself leading to stress between him, his wife and his friends in the complex as he believes the rapist actually lives amongst them.
I will be honest from a thriller point of view "Complex of Fear" is unremarkable with a variety of cliche elements from the smoking rapist lurking in the woods to a chase scene as Ray fails to catch him. As I said there is no suspense to any of this and whilst the story builds that the police believe the rapist lives in the complex somewhere and there fore the various residents we meet all become automatically suspects it never really becomes gripping.
But what is more interesting about "Complex of Fear" is the attitudes and how it affects Ray especially with a revelation about something concerning Michelle. So we firstly see how cold the police's attitude is to it all, the questioning of victims after the rape and how certain attitudes about women who dress and act in certain ways may have caused it. But we also see how deeply it affects Ray, blaming himself for not catching the guy, feeling his friends at the complex resent him because not only did he not catch him but he also has to be suspicious of him all. And then there is how he tries to protect Michelle, cold and almost obsessive in making her always alert and ready to shoot. It is this side, the way Ray changes in the situation which makes it interesting.
Aside from that well the acting like the movie in general is solid but unremarkable. The best performance comes from Hart Bochner as Ray as he has the only character with any real depth but the character itself is not that memorable, just an ordinary cop dealing with his own personal conflict. But you can always count on Joe Don Baker who gives an almost comical performance as Det. Frank Farrel whilst Chelsea Field as Michelle has some powerful scenes revolving around her revelation.
What this all boils down to is that "Complex of Fear" is a solid but unremarkable TV thriller from the early nineties. It isn't terrible and whilst lacking in suspense the intrigue of who the rapist is and how it affects Ray keeps it interesting.
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