A 16 year-old falls for a charming stranger, but he soon proves to have a wildly possessive streak. When she tries to break up with him, it becomes clear that he's not going to let her go that easily.
After psycho flatmates, office workers and babysitters, now the common or garden boyfriend gets the cinematic nutcase treatment. And while Fear, a sort of pubescent Fatal Attraction, is derivative and often risible, in the competent hands of Foley it's also highly enjoyable.
Architect Steve Walker (Petersen) is recently remarried and coping with a heavy workload, a new family and his 16-year-old daughter Nicole (Witherspoon). Disobeying her new stepmom, Nicole slips out to a party and falls big time for the smooth-talking charms of David (Wahlberg). Naturally, her father grounds her when he returns, driving a wedge further between them. As familial relations worsen, it seems that the only person who understands her is David, but Mr. Right slowly reveals himself to be Mr. Psycho.
At times Fear goes so way over the top (check out the orgasm-on-a-rollercoaster sequence for starters) as to provoke sniggers all round. Nevertheless the acting is strong -Petersen is suitably fraught, while Witherspoon ably fills the shoes of the female lead, and even Wahlberg is decent enough in what is usually a one-note performance.
Foley builds the tension slowly, but when the movie is called upon to deliver it does - in spades. The climax, in which Wahlberg and his posse lay siege to the supposedly safe family home, is genuine edge of the seat stuff.