James Foley’s Fear (1996) is probably one of the more neglected horror films. Its antagonist is not the typical movie monster. No demons, vampires, or masked murderers are featured in this flick—just a violent teenaged sociopath named David (Mark Wahlberg). What’s more, cinematic versions of obsessive lovers were embodied almost exclusively by females in the late eighties and early nineties—for example, Fatal Attraction (1987), Single White Female (1992), The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992), Poison Ivy (1992), and The Crush (1993). In Fear, however, the shoe was suddenly on the other foot.
As a teenybopper, barely into double digits, I felt an instant attraction to Fear. I had discovered Sleeping with the Enemy not long before, but David’s erratic aggression was something else entirely. As I watched him, I realized domestic violence was not restricted to the adult world; it could potentially play out among mall rats and cool kids. Suffice it to say, the movie shaped my initial understandings of young men and turned me off to dating in my teens.