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FEAR, INC. (2016)

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Fear, Inc. is an OK horror/comedy that finds man-bun sporting horror movie fan Joe Foster (Lucas Neff) turning to a mysterious organization for some thrills and chills at Halloween. The group called Fear, Inc. apparently will deliver some hardcore scares, but Joe and his friends (Caitlin Stasey, Chris Marquette and Stephanie Drake) may not be prepared for just how far these folks will go to frighten them.

Written by Luke Barnett and directed by Vincent Masciale, this is a moderately amusing, if not familiar tale of a horror movie buff going to extreme lengths to gets some hardcore scares during the spooky time of year. While there is a level of amusement, the film is fairly predictable and the attempts at humor never really makes one laugh. The movie references are obvious and annoyingly Neff’s Joe has to shout them out when he sees them just in case we are too dumb to get them. If you don’t trust your target audience to get your references, then why bother? There is little suspense, though there is some decent gore and on a few occasions the film does give us some doubts as to whether it’s all a game. The cast are all decent enough, though I found Neff’s Joe to be more annoying than cool as the big kid in a man’s body. The mix of hipster and horror buff didn’t quite gel. Production value is solid enough and I can say that on a technical level it wasn’t badly directed, it just didn’t really scare and wasn’t overly clever or funny…and part of that is the fault of the script. There is some basic entertainment value here, but there is nothing daring or inventive about it and the film never takes any risks.

Fear, Inc. passed the time with moderate entertainment, but really didn’t take it’s premise and run with it like it could have. The script could have pushed the boundaries a bit and Masciale played it safe as a director. It’s a routine horror comedy that was a bit too obvious and mainstream with it’s horror references and didn’t seem to trust it’s target audience to get those references without help. Worth a look if there is nothing else on, but as it is the Halloween season, I’d much rather re-watch the movies referenced. Not a complete waste of time but overall, forgettable.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1/2 Fear, Inc business cards.