Sunday, December 18, 2016

Fear Inc. (2016)

Vincent Masciale

WRITER: Luke Barnett


Lucas Neff
Caitlin Stasey
Chris Marquette
Stephanie Drake
Abigail Breslin
Mark Moses
Richard Riehle
Patrick Renna
Naomi Grossman
Leslie Jordan
Ronnie Gene Blevins


Joe is a huge horror movie fanatic. One night while out on a date with his girlfriend, a strange man approaches him and gives him a business card for a company called Fear Inc. Fear Inc. is a company that offers a once in a lifetime experience for their clients. It allows them to live out their greatest fears. Being a massive horror film fan, Joe is bored and decides to call Fear Inc. which turns from an interactive experience into a fight for survival.

Going into Fear Inc. I wasn't sure of what to expect from the movie. I was only really aware of the poster for the film. I hadn't even seen the trailer before diving right into the movie. I was going into this one completely blind. I think to go into Fear Inc. and blind while not knowing a single thing about the movie was a good thing as Fear Inc. ended up really surprising me. I went in anticipating that I wasn't going to enjoy this one and it turned out to be a lot of fun.

When Fear Inc. began, I got some serious Scream vibes from the film. It opens with Abigail Breslin being stalked by a killer who is butchered in a Drew Barrymore, Jada Pinkett Smith or Britt Robertson styled fashion. Being probably the most well-known actress in the cast. It was sort of fun to watch her being dispatched so quickly. I had expected her to stay around longer. It felt very reminiscent of those moments where I couldn't wait to see which high profile star would be brutally murdered in the opening of each Scream film.

The movie for the next twenty-five minutes introduces us to our main characters. It's a little bit of exposition before the movie starts to ramp up the gore. The characters are all pretty fun. We don't have any real arseholes in the group. Our main character is a lazy, jobless, horror movie fanatic. He seems pretty aimless. He reminded me of Devon Sawa in Idle Hands. We also have his lovely girlfriend who doesn't mind him doing blow off the kitchen bench. She seems like she's down to party, and their two close friends are also a fun couple. For once, I actually dug all four characters.

It's at the thirty-minute mark where things start to get really fun. I love me a movie that pays homage while getting meta or self-referential. Hey, I grew up in the nineties where the Scream franchise started that whole self-aware thing or if it didn't start it, it sure was the catalyst for this entire resurgence of self-aware horror movies. Fear Inc. spends a lot of time with our main character being so in awe of the things going on around him that he references pretty much every single horror movie series ever.

I had so much fun with the scene where the old man neighbour is brutally stabbed in the voice box while trying to call out for help. A little reference to Drew Barrymore in Scream. He's even got the exact same jumper on. We watch Joe running around in a red and green sweater like Freddy Krueger. We have a few nods to Saw. There's even a lovely Friday The 13th homage. It's all very enjoyable throughout. I loved all of the references. It also mentions David Fincher's The Game in which it has a lot of very similar themes.

As our characters go from one scene to the next, until we finally make it to the third act. This is where the movie sort of loses me. Up until what felt like the two or three endings, I was totally onboard with the film. I was enjoying the hell out of it because it was self-aware and the humour was really working in conjunction with the scares. It decides to take a really dark turn. We get two false endings before the real one, and things go from mean-spirited to happy-ending to extremely brutal. For once, I would have been happy if they ended it on a happy note instead of the really depressing one that we go out on. All the terrible things that happened in the story were enough to give this guy his horror experience. They should have ended it a minute before the movie actually ends.

The acting is pretty good in Fear Inc. The standout for me is Caitlin Stasey. Maybe I'm biased because I'm Australian and dig her offscreen as well as on. But I love that they wrote her girlfriend to not be the usual nagging partner or someone who isn't trusting of her boyfriend or that she's overly uptight. She is incredibly fun in this film. Lucas Neff who I know from Raising Hope is a lot of fun also in this movie. I really enjoyed his horror nerd boyfriend character. I liked the relationship dynamic between the two actors. I was rooting for them to make it out of this situation alive.

Lastly, the movie is pretty bloody and violent. We have a few excellent death scenes. I was loving the throwback gags to other horror movies. When it comes to the scares, this is a horror comedy, so the movie isn't exactly frightening. The movie does have a few substantial jump scares and some moments that came out of nowhere. If anyone remembers the scene from Identity with the car? Well, this movie has one of those moments that I wasn't expecting. So all in all, it works on a horror level.



- Strangled to death with some rope.
- Someone is head-butted in the nose.
- Someone is stabbed in the chest twice.
- Someone's neck is snapped.
- A police officer is hit by a fast-moving car.
- Someone is strangled to death.
- A guy has his stomach opened to find a key.
- An arrow to the eye and leg.
- Someone's hand is sawn off with a table saw.
- A woman is shot in the head.
- A woman has her throat slit.
- Someone is stabbed in the chest and has their throat sliced.

After watching Fear Inc. I think director: 
Vincent Masciale is a big fan of Wes Craven. The movie has a lot of references to a lot of the most celebrated horror franchises of all time, but I got a sense that Wes Craven is his favourite. The movie is self-aware, it's funny, the characters are all likable, and there is a decent amount of bloodshed. I had a lot of fun with the film. The movie isn't without its problems, though. The film has one too many false endings and concludes on a downer. I'm all for bleak and dark endings but time around, it felt mean-spirited, and I'd have enjoyed the movie had they ended it a minute or two earlier. Still worth a watch.


  1. I really enjoyed this. I went in somewhat blind too, didn't see the trailer, knew who the cast were and a general idea but no expectations.

    Joe and Lindsey so different personalities but they worked, Joe's constant horror movie mentions and enthusiasm was amusing to see (I saw a bit of myself in his character).

    Loved the homages to Scream (they even get mentioned in the film). Once it started getting serious, it still retained it's humor and kept me amused. Up until the serious (psyche parts involving the friend and his girlfriend) I felt for Joe. The ending shifts the feel of the film completely, turns enjoyment into a somber tone.

    Still a really enjoyable film. I wish I had caught it last year, no doubt it would have ended up on my honorable mentions.

    1. Glad to see you also felt the tone of the end is felt a lot. I just thought that they put him through so much already and then pretending to kill his girlfriend was punishment enough. They should've ended it in the diner at the "Cast Party" before you know what happens.

      I love me some dark and bleak endings: The Mist, Kill List, Kidnapped, Se7en and Funny Games to name a few.

      But this movie was mixing the tonal shifts just right and was a very fun ride throughout. Just killed the vibe for me but still a very fun film for the most part.

  2. It was when he thought he'd killed his best friend, then found out he actually killed a guy for his girlfriend, then he thought his girlfriend was taken for good (his emotional scene out in the desert alone was heartbreaking). Giving him a second "Ha, psych!" moment was just mean. Then all of them being killed right at the end anyway...they could have done that without the fake ending overkill.
    Up until those dark and downer moments it's really enjoyable though.