A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Innocent people are often placed in horrible situations and slaughtered one by one by mysterious killers -- and it often seems like the victims' only crime is to stumble into the wrong place at the wrong time. Why do these sadistic murderers do what they do? It's not usually explained until the end, and even then there's no real justification for such brutality.
Violence & Scariness
Plenty of violence, lots of gore, and tons of blood. The series serves up lots of chills and is heavy on brutal, often sadistic violence. Many of the episodes are directed by some of Hollywood's top horror filmmakers, and though they have to tone down the action for TV, it's still pretty extreme.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
No nudity or onscreen sex, though there's some flirting and suggestive conversations.
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Despite the intense situations, there's surprisingly little foul language.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this horror anthology series delivers a big dose of gore. Many of the episodes are directed by well-known horror filmmakers, who translate to TV the violence and sadism that's so prevalent in the genre. The explicit carnage is toned down for the small screen, but only a bit, and many scenes seem to push the envelope of network standards. It's definitely too intense for kids -- or anyone else who doesn't have a taste for the extreme violence that's common in modern horror movies.
Is It Any Good?
Don't expect anything as entertaining as The Twilight Zone, which depended on clever writing to create thought-provoking situations before delivering twists that hardly anybody ever saw coming. Fear Itself isn't as clever, and it's not at all subtle. The contributing directors -- including John Landis, Darren Bousman of the Saw series, and Re-Animator helmer Stuart Gordon -- rely on violence, gore, and sadism to keep viewers' attention. Though they have to turn the gruesome dial down several notches to make the jump to network television, there's still plenty of disturbing imagery.
Many modern horror films seem engaged in a graphic-violence arms race; how many new ways can you find to dismember a victim? While filmmakers once tried to gradually create terrifying situations that built to a climax, now it seems there's little need to explain why the villains need to torture and murder their victims. The fear now stems from the seemingly random nature of the acts -- anyone, at any time, might stumble into the wrong place, where they'll be beaten, battered, and bludgeoned beyond death. Fans of that kind of horror movie will enjoy Fear Itself, but anyone who has trouble appreciating the current state of the genre (and there are many) will find little to like about this series.
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Our Editors Recommend
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