Fear (1996)

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Released 24-Dec-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1996
Running Time 92:52
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By James Foley

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Mark Wahlberg
Reese Witherspoon
William Petersen
Alyssa Milano
Amy Brenneman
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Carter Burwell

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Nicole Walker (Resse Witherspoon) is a fairly typical teenager who meets David McCall (Mark Wahlberg) at a dance party that turns into a brawl. David rescues Nicole from the chaos and hence their relationship starts. While initially David seems like a wonderful person and a perfect gentleman it isn't long before the dark side of his character emerges. In a jealous rage, he savagely beats Nicole's friend Gary (Todd Caldecott) in front of her. After this, she doesn't want anything to do with him, but gradually he wins her back. Nicole's father, Steve (William Petersen), is not happy about this and digs into David's history and discovers his criminal background. David then manipulates circumstances to cement his position in her life by driving a wedge between Nicole and her father.

    Fear is the classic "boy meets girl, boy seems nice, but is really a psycho" story. As such, it's hardly unique or original and this makes the whole plot fairly predictable. However, the story isn't without enough tension to keep you interested. Despite the fact that you basically know where the story's going, it is worth watching to the end and for this you'll be rewarded with a genuinely suspenseful finale.

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Transfer Quality


    A very good result has been achieved in the transfer of this film to DVD. It is free of all but a very few, very minor flaws.

    This transfer is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is sharp and clear at all times and exhibits good shadow detail. There's a bit of edge enhancement visible from time to time but it never reaches a level at which it is distracting. There was no low level noise to be seen.

    I found the colour in this transfer to be excellent. The saturation was perfect with vibrant colours present and excellent flesh tones.

    Artefacts of all types are a rarity in this transfer. I didn't spot any MPEG artefacts. There was the occasional film artefact in the way of small black marks but these were not a distraction. The transfer was free of film grain. There was some minor aliasing but you'd need to look very hard indeed to find it. Overall, a very nice job.

    There's no shortage of subtitles on this disc with 7 languages being catered for. I sampled about 15 mins of the English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles and found them to be quite accurate and very easy to read. It's nice to see that as much as possible they have been placed in the black bar at the bottom of the screen rather than over the picture. They only infringe on the picture area when the text is too long to fit within the space occupied by the black bar.

    This is a single layered disc so there's no layer change to worry about.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    I enjoyed the audio on this disc: the dialogue was clear, the surround channels are used to good effect, and the subwoofer will rattle the windows. To round out the whole package, we get a nice energetic music score to accompany the on-screen action.

    I listened to the English Dolby Digital 5.1 track which is the first of two tracks provided, the other being a German Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded track.

    The dialogue was perfectly clear at all times with one exception which was during the dance party sequence between 10:39 and 14:30 where it tended to be drowned out somewhat by the loud music. However, this may well have been the intention of the director rather than a fault with the transfer.

    There didn't seem to be any problems with the audio sync.

    Fear is graced with an energetic soundtrack which largely relies on music from various artists including several songs by Marky Mark, that is, Mark Wahlberg in his pre-movie star, rapper days.

    The surround channels were reasonably active when necessary both for sound effects and the music score.

    The subwoofer definitely makes its presence felt to good effect in support of the sound effects and the music. A notable example of this occurs during the dance party scene which starts at 10:39. Be prepared to feel the earth move!

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    The extras on this disc are limited to a theatrical trailer.


    The menu is 16x9 enhanced but is without either animation or audio.

Theatrical Trailer

    The trailer runs for 1:13 and is presented in a ratio of 1.78:1. It is not 16x9 enhanced. Audio is Dolby Digital 2.0.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Except for the fact that the Region 4 version has a German audio track rather than the Spanish one provided on the Region 1 DVD and some minor differences in subtitles the two discs are identical.


    While Fear could never be considered a great movie in the thriller genre I think you'll find it will definitely hold your attention most of the time and even have you on the edge of your seat at the climax. It has been nicely transferred to DVD.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is also very good.

    If you like lots of extras on your DVDs then you won't find them here.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Peter Cole (Surely you've got something better to do than read my bio)
Sunday, January 27, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-515, using S-Video output
DisplaySony VPL-WV10HT LCD Projector on to 100" (254 cm) 16:9 ratio Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-995
SpeakersFront L&R - B&W DM603, Centre - B&W LCR6, Rear L&R - B&W DM602, Sub - Yamaha YST-SW300

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