Location: Eagle, ID
“F.E.A.R.: First Encounter Assault Recon”
Distributed by: Universal Studios
Produced by: John Carpenter and Mike Medavoy
Directed by: David Fincher
Written by: Andrew Kevin Walker and Craig Hubbard
Based on the game by Craig Hubbard and Monolith Productions
Josh Hartnett as Richard “The Point Man” Smith
Clive Owen as Paxton Fettle
Kurt Russel as Commissioner “Rowdy” Betters
Bruce Willis as Spen Jankowski
Michelle Krusiec as Jin Sun-Kwon
Denzel Washington as Capt. Douglass Holiday
Dakota Fanning as Alma
Donald Sutherland as Harlan Wade
Maria Bello as Genevieve Aristide, President of ATC
Robert Downy Jr. as Aldus Bishop, ATC Employee
Tagline: “Do you know the true meaning of F.E.A.R.?"
Release Date: October 24, 2007
Rated R for graphic, intense, bloody scenes of action/horror violence and gore, strong language and a brief scene of nudity
Synopsis: In 2002, a covert branch of the U.S. Army was founded. Known as the First Encounter Assault Recon division, or F.E.A.R. for short, this branch was dedicated to the defense of U.S. security interests against paranormal and supernatural forces. Obviously, very few people took them seriously, seeing how there were none of these threats that needed to be dealt with. However, something has happened to change that.
About thrity years ago, a company known as the Armacham Technology Corporation began a series of projects to further the company’s success. The first was known as Project Icarus, with the goal of creating an efficient method for producing a new form of soldiers for the U.S. Army to use instead of actual people. What followed was the creation of an army of bio-mechanical clones that would operate under a collective conscious. This eventually led to the project known as Origin, which was formed to train a super-soldier who would function as the central hub for these soldiers telepathically. To do this, the project’s founder Harlan Wade (Sutherland) decided to train a ten-year-old girl named Alma (Fanning), since she had shown signs of immense psychological powers. Unfortunately, this proved ineffective over time due to Alma’s bizarre quirks and mental complexities. The plan was then altered to create a new form of soldier from her genes. To do this, Armacham put Alma into an induced coma and impregnated her so she would transfer her power to a new subject. Two children were born from this, but an incident involving a chaotic psychological outburst from the first child forced Armacham to pull the plug on the project. Unfortunately, Alma was killed in the process, since her vitals were still linked to the machine inducing her coma when it shut down.
It is now the current year. Armacham President Genevieve Aristide (Bello), realizing the potential of Project Origin in the new age, seeks to bring it back into business. In disregards to her board’s decisions, she sends a team led by employee Aldus Bishop (Downy) to re-establish connection with the project’s HQ, known as “The Vault”. Unfortunately, communication was lost shortly after the team reached their destination. Whatever they did, it triggered a crisis in one of Armacham’s facilities in Auburn. In that building, Paxton Fettle (Owen), Alma’s violent child now a grown man, was somehow set free from a containment cell the company had built. Within an hour, Fettle had killed most of the building’s employees and established a link with the clone soldiers he was created to use. In a desperate attempt to cover up this mess, Armacham contacts the army for assistance.
Though they have no direct experience yet, the F.E.A.R. team is ordered to mobilize its elite unit to aid Delta Force operatives led by Captain Douglass Holiday (Washington) in controlling the incident. With Commissioner Betters (Russell) at its head, the F.E.A.R. team calls upon ten operatives for the job, including its veteran soldier Spen Jankowski (Willis) and paranormal expert Jin Sun-Kwon (Krusiec). With their team prepared, they send their first operative (Hartnett), a rookie designated as the operation’s “Point Man”, to prepare their strike. However, when he arrives at the area, strange things begin to happen. He is showing unnaturally agile reflexes and is seeing strange visions of a young ten-year-old girl in various places. What he doesn’t know is that all these things will lead to a full night’s trip into Hell and beyond.
What the press would say:
It’s not often that we see a video game movie, or a horror movie for that matter, that involves the audience with so many amazing scenes of both nail-biting horror and adrenaline pumping action. F.E.A.R., David Fincher’s latest bloody masterpiece, brings all of that and more to the table with production values and cinematic skills that rise above the competition. His signature style of atmospheric filmmaking is just the thing a film like this needed, complete with a disturbing sound design and a little ultra violence to seal the deal. If anything, Fincher has created the one movie that will convince you there is a Hell. Corpse are torn limb by limb, flesh is liquefied by a girl’s thoughts, bodies are smashed across rooms like rag dolls by unholy forces and gallons of blood are splattered everywhere in such convincingly realistic detail that one would think that they are really killing people in the movie. The foreboding atmosphere the film creates can also thank the wonderful technical team behind it. The editing appropriately sets the pace of every scene within the movie, from the Die Hard caliber firefights that are the original game’s signature to the nightmarish visions projected into the main hero’s brain by the ghostly Alma. Some awe-inspiring cinematography helps add to this, using dynamic angles and a nightmare-like quality color scheme that lets the audience know almost immediately what they are about to experience. It’s the sound design, however, that give F.E.A.R. that disturbing but satisfying edge. Gunshots and bullet casing clatter are a thing of beauty and the Japanese horror-like sound effects that ensue when paranormal events occur will send a chill so powerful down your spine that it is likely to tear through the skin, which would be appropriate for a movie like this.
In the end though, it’s David Fincher’s expertise that carry the film forward. Under his guidance, the outlandish plot of the script and visceral intensity of the original game all come together in a logical way. The characters are never expressed as caricatures, as each one has a distinct personality to keep the audience interested with them. The script, co-penned by the writer of Se7en and the game’s original writer/director, constantly keeps you in the moment, and then completely pulls the rug from under you with several surprising twists and a cliffhanger ending that leaves you drained and wanting more at the same time. And who could ask for a better cast, with Josh Hartnett as a great central character to have the story revolve around. The standout though is Clive Owen as Fettle. His menacing voice combined with the traits of this psychotic, cannibalistic character makes him the perfect villain. He would be a lock for supporting actor if not for the briefness of his appearances and the un-Oscar material of the film.
The only warning we can give the academy awards is be prepared.
Best Director- David Fincher
Best Cinematography- Harris Savides
Best Editing- James Haygood
Best Sound Design- David C. Hughes, Ren Klyce, Richard Hymns and Eric Dachs
Best Sound Editing- David C. Hughes and Richard Hymns