Joe (Lucas Neff) is an unemployed slacker (is there really any other kind?) and horror fan that spends his days playing beer pong by himself or relaxing in the pool. This is much to the chagrin of his beautiful girlfriend Lindsay (Caitlin Stasey), whose house he has recently moved into. On their date night, they go to a haunted house. He is decidedly underwhelmed by the place and complains that it wasn’t scary at all. He is overheard by a decidedly weird dude (Patrick Renna) who comes up to them and gives him a business card for a service called “Fear, Inc”.
The next day, Halloween, his friend Ben (Chris Marquette) and his wife (Stephanie Drake) come over to hang and stay with them. Joe mentions “Fear, Inc” to them, and Ben warns him not to call them. He tells them that the people who run it are crazy and dangerous, and that his boss (a cameo by Abigail Breslin in a cool little prologue) tried it out and was never heard from again. Of course, Joe calls and it doesn’t take long for increasingly bad things, including murder, to occur. All of these happenings are inspired by horror movies classic like Friday the 13th, The Shining, Saw, and more. Joe enjoys it at first, but as things gradually get more intense he begins to change his train of thought, as the question of is it real or not looms heavily on them.
April 15, 2016
Lucas Neff, Caitlin Stasey, Chris Marquette, Stephanie Drake, Mark Moses, Abigail Breslin
Fun is the best word to describe the meta – horror/comedy flick Fear, Inc. At its surface; it’s Wes Craven’s Scream meets David Fincher’s The Game. In fact, it is seemingly very close to Fincher’s 90s thriller, and I couldn’t help but think back to it. This movie also acknowledges The Game’s existence and similarity, setting itself apart from it. Once Joe mentioned The Game in a scene, I no longer saw Fear, Inc. as a ripoff of it. It was at this point it really, that Fear, Inc. truly caught interest and makes it known there’s more to this film that meets the eye.
Finding the right balance between humor and fear-inducing moments is hard. Thankfully, this movie does both of these quite well. There are some legitimately suspenseful moments, as well as a couple of actual jaw-dropping scenes. One part in particular stood out as a great and shocking moment. It’s really funny, even for those hard to please in the comedy department.
Writer Luke Barrett’s wonderful script drips with a true love for horror films, which in turn adds to the fun. The winks and nods to the genre are ones long time horror fans will see and love. Not just horror movies but other geek related movies and TV shows also get loving tributes. In fact, overall the script is just very lively, imaginative, and is a genuine heartfelt letter of love to geek entertainment.
This is not to say that everything about the story is flawless. I don’t think the whole ‘is it fake or is it real’ thing works all the time. I have to admit that there were some twists that I called out before they occurred. Still, even when I was pretty sure I was gonna be right, there was still a part of me that wondered… Even when my prognostications turned out to be right, I still found myself really enjoying this movie. The predictable moments and scenes are quickly overshadowed by the more surprising elements. So, even if every moment doesn’t work, as a whole this movie definitely does.
First time feature director Vincent Masciale does quite a fine job here. First off, the movie looks great. There are some shots that feature wonderful frame composition, as well as really nice use of shadows. He also keeps things moving rather nicely. The pacing is fast, so much so that the movie just seems to fly right by. The violence and gore are nicely handled with at least two scenes that made me go “Holy shit!”
The acting by everyone is really good in this film. Lucas Neff as Joe is simply great. Somehow, he makes this slacker likable. The character of Joe could’ve just been a douche bag that leeches off of his girlfriendk and on the surface he is just that. As the movie progresses though, we see that he’s really not a bad guy, and we eventually cheer him on. We certainly don’t think that all of this awful shit should be happening to him. What’s really cool and interesting is that he says and does things that we as horror fans probably would do in that situation. Up until a certain point, the part that he stopped enjoying the chain of events, we as genre fans would probably think that a lot of this tale would be cool to experience.
I really loved his girlfriend Lindsay, as played by the absolutely gorgeous Caitlin Stasey. In many ways she was kind of my favorite character in this film. She definitely comes off as the most levelheaded person here. And, Stasey really does a great job at bringing her character to life. She gives her a certain amount of sass and believability that’s really a pleasure to watch. The rest of the cast is, quite honestly, just as good.
Fear, Inc. is really quite the ride with a story that develops nicely and is aided by a quick pace. It’s a great time, from beginning to ending. The jokes and scares balance out really nicely. It’s hard to falter this flick, even at its most predictable moments. Funny, intense, wild, and with of at least a few surprising twists, it ultimately amounts to a winner. It’s a solid mixing of horror and comedy and a great meta—horror flick, one that fits very nicely alongside of such great examples of this sub-genre as Cabin in the Woods and, a movie it clearly idolizes, Scream.
Fun, with a great love for horror movies and geek movies in general. The jokes are actually funny and it succeeds at being quite suspenseful. It's a solid script aided by really good acting.
It can be a little predictable at times and the whole is it real or not thing doesn't work all the time.