Directed by Vincent Masciale [Other horror films: N/A]
For all intents and purposes, Fear, Inc. is basically a horror version of The Game (1997). Halfway through the film, the main character himself, Joe (Lucas Neff), alludes to as much.
The plot is certainly similar – bothered by the fact that the haunted house he and his girlfriend often go to isn’t scary enough, Joe decides to take a stranger (Patrick Renna, from Dark Ride and X-Files episode “Bad Blood”) up on his offer and call Fear, Inc., a company that specializes in custom scares. When he does, he finds himself, along with his girlfriend and friends, in very real trouble. Or is it all a game?
Fear, Inc. keeps you guessing on whether or not the whole thing is an elaborate prank, though it’s answered at the end of the film. Plenty of references to other horror films occur, given the fact Joe (again, Neff) is a big horror fan: Friday the 13th, Saw, April’s Fools Day, A Nightmare on Elm Street, randomly Game of Thrones, and even I Know What You Did Last Summer all played a small part in the film, though Saw being the most extensive.
When watching the movie, I didn’t quite know what route it ultimately was going to take – whether it’d be a Seven Footprints to Satan (1929) type ending or not, I went back-and-forth on. Plenty of surprises occur throughout the film, though I think most of them could be expected. The gore, though there’s not a whole lot, is decently done. While many of the actors and actresses feel more generic than not (including Caitlin Stasey, Chris Marquette, and Stephanie Drake), the main character Joe, played by Lucas Neff, did a really good job playing the stoner/goofball/thinks-the-whole-thing’s-a-joke type of guy, and for his short screen time, Richard Riehle (from Hatchet and a few hundred other things – seriously, his IMDb credits are boss) was fun also.
While labeled a comedy/horror, it seemed to me that the comedy was notched down from what it otherwise could have been. There’s a few amusing lines here and there at the beginning, but past a certain point, the film takes a mostly serious tone, which I appreciated. The ending, while foreshadowed, didn’t really work out that well in my opinion, but everything before that made this film a fun romp. I find the film almost above average, partially teetering that line. Generally, though, I’d recommend it.