Not Your Worst Fear

Let me off this plane now or I will scream like this all the way to New York - Cayce

Ally Sheedy in Fear (1990)

With the gift of having psychic abilities, novelist Cayce Bridges (Ally Sheedy) has found herself helping the police in tracking down serial killers, using her ability to connect with the killer to find out where they are. Of course not everyone is a believer and Detective Webber (Stan Shaw) is initially a sceptic when it comes to Cayce's psychic abilities when she comes to him offering to help with a new case involving a killer. But Cayce is in for nothing she has encountered before as the Shadow Man (Pruitt Taylor Vince), as the police named him, also has psychic abilities and enjoys being able to feel the fear which his victims suffer which in turn he channels to Cayce as he gets in her head and terrorizes her.

I feared the worse and whilst my fears didn't come to fruition "Fear", the 1990 movie by that name, was by no means the great movie some had suggested it would be. In fact what could have been a really creepy movie ended up in some places light weight and in others a typical police procedural which you keep watching hoping for it to come good and that it will do something unexpected. Don't get me wrong as it tries but the end result is an uneven movie which I am sure entertains fans of Ally Sheedy more than those who watched because of the story.

Stan Shaw in Fear (1990)

I hinted at what the issue with "Fear" is and unfortunately it is Ally Sheedy, a lovely actress who admittedly I was fond of back in the 80s but she is an actress with a certain style and for me it is wrong for this movie and especially the character of Cayce. There is too much conflict going on as we have Sheedy playing the typical nice girl, the girl with that sweet and nervous smile which makes her appealing but when it comes to her playing the psychic side of her character she forces it with over the top acting, forced staring and plenty more which for me is wrong for the character as the whole time I wasn't convinced.

But it is not all Ally Sheedy's fault because around her writer and director Rockne S. O'Bannon has taken to serving up cliches such as Det. Webber and his colleague Det. Wu as they come across as a double act. It is why "Fear" often feels like a police procedural and that in turn makes it feel like a movie which uses the psychic side as a gimmick. It is a shame as in amongst the familiar and the wrong there are some good performances with Pruitt Taylor Vince once again managing to lift a movie with a superior performance and he gives the movie its only real edge.

What this all boils down to is that "Fear" should have been a chilling movie but only ends up a familiar one which due to some wrong casting and relying on the familiar fails to become the really chilling experience it wants to be. Maybe some day writer and director Rockne S. O'Bannon will revisit "Fear" and deliver the truly chilling movie it deserves to be.

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