Twenty years ago today, Fear entered theaters and scared the living daylights out of parents and teens everywhere. Despite having the plot of a bad Lifetime movie, its solid performances and handsome production (the kind plenty of undeserving ‘90s movies were given) made Fear hard to laugh at. Even in 2016, it remains a chilling little movie—albeit one with questionable opinions about sex. (Specifically, that high school girls shouldn’t have it.)
Fear, as you probably know, tells the story of a 16-year-old “good girl” named Nicole (Reese Witherspoon) who falls for a bad boy with good pecs and a Boston accent that comes and goes named David (Mark Wahlberg), much to the alarm of her increasingly distant father, Steve (William Peterson), who thinks something’s up but can’t put his finger on it. After David figures out where to put his fingers, he and Nicole enjoy a few days of bliss, until he decides to kill her best friend. Their relationship eventually and understandably sours, so he decides to win her back by attempting to kill her entire family. Not the best plan, but psychopaths don’t always think things through.
Let’s take a look back at some of the film’s more memorable moments.
The Dog, When it Still Had a Head
This Seattle Cafe, Which Is Inexplicably Packed at Noon On a Weekday
The Shirt Mark Is Wearing When We First See Him
Bush, Who Provided Two Songs For the Soundtrack (Both from Sixteen Stone)
Mark Casually Throwing Amy Brenneman In the Pool, Much to the Delight of William Peterson
Mark Casually Fingering Reese On a Roller Coaster, Much to the Delight of Reese
Reese Witherspoon Waking Up...
...And Seeing This
Reese Witherspoon’s Handwriting
Alyssa Milano’s Character Constantly Screaming/Crying/Being Treated Like Garbage
More of Mark’s Handwriting:
Mark, When He Lost His Head
The Dog, When He Lost His Head
And Finally, Mark, When He Lost His Battle With Gravity
One of the hallmarks of a movie about murderers who invade “nice” families (think Fatal Attraction, The Good Son, and Obsessed) is that they end immediately after the bad guy is out. Fear ends in the same way.
Seconds after he’s dead, the family hugs and the credits roll. We came to watch the good guys defeat him—that’s all. Two decades later, we’re still watching.
Images via screengrab. Bush image via Trauma Records.