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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Daddy's Girl

Fear (1996) on IMDb

Plot Overview

architectsThe camera pans over some stately buildings, past a busy high­way, onto a bustling city with sky­scrapers and the Space Needle, and over some woods to rest on a cozy house on a spit of land jutting into the bay off Mercer Island. Some fine architects designed all that, and we see one on his morning run. Steven Walker (William Petersen) runs to reclaim his youth, drives a cool Mustang, and heads a blended family with his new model wife Laura (Amy Brenneman.) He does male bonding with the guard at his gated estate, with his (aging) German shepherd Kaiser picking up the paper, and with his wife's boy Toby (Christopher Gray) from her previous marriage. He gets on well, also, with his male friends at work. He's “a pretty solid guy” … “not really a faggot.”

Laura calls to her teenage charge Nicole (Reese Witherspoon) in the shower to “save some hot water for your father!” It helps to have a woman in the house to defend his interests with respect to the girl in the house. She'd first stayed with her mom and more recently came to be with her dad. Toby wonders, “why do people bother getting married, if they're just gonna divorce?” Well, Steve had an eye to the ladies, and his job required he be out of town at hotels some of the time. Laura is sexually liberated and likes to keep her options open. They are trying to make a go of it together, but as it's a blended family, they'd started it with­out a proper shake­down cruise to be able to present a united front to the kids.

Nicole has befriended one Margo Masse (Alyssa Milano) at school who has no other friends but her, although she is friendly with the boys. Through her influence Nicole, who can't abide the callow high school boys, has hooked up with an older drifter named David McCall (Mark Wahlberg.) He's a reject from a series of foster homes where he learned to be a master manipulator. There's a reason why they rejected him. When he persists at bothering Nicole after getting the boot from her home, it's handy the architect dad had constructed their house with reinforced walls, with an alarm system, and in a gated area. His precautions are going to be tested.


Nicole who suffered through the family transitions and a gap in being with her dad accuses him that, “You're the one who blocks out the past.” Toby who suffered through it from his end says, “When I get married, it'll only be ONCE … and FOREVER.” The dad is on shaky footing when he tries to confront Nicole's teenage rebellion; he's not exactly on the moral high ground here even though his approach is consistent with The Wisdom of the Son of Sirach in the Apocrypha: (Sirach 26:8–12)

A drunken woman and a gadder abroad causeth great anger, and she will not cover her own shame. The whoredom of a woman may be known in her haughty looks and eye­lids. If thy daughter be shame­less, keep her in straitly, lest she abuse herself through over­much liberty. Watch over an impudent eye: and marvel not if she trespass against thee. She will open her mouth, as a thirsty traveller when he hath found a fountain, and drink of every water near her: by every hedge will she sit down, and open her quiver against every arrow.

Nicole was not shown drinking but her boyfriend had drugs and drug paraphernalia in his room. She was a “gadder about” inasmuch as she was out who-knows-where well past curfew. She dressed and was made up “like a slut.” She gave haughty and high-minded replies when her dad tried to admonish her. Even Laura at one point thought that Nicole's dad should have grounded her, i.e. “keep her in straitly, lest she abuse her­self through over­much liberty.” If she isn't monitored, it's no surprise “if she trespass against thee.” It's rather politely phrased that, “She will open her mouth, as a thirsty traveller when he hath found a fountain, and drink of every water near her: by every hedge will she sit down, and open her quiver against every arrow.” Between Nicole's open-mouthed moaning when David stimulated her, and Margo's moaning giving a boy a lap dance, that covers it with­out even mentioning sloppy kisses. Margo has multiple boys interested in her, and Nicole will likely soon follow her example.

Production Values

This thriller, “” (1996) was directed by James Foley. It was written by Christopher Crowe. It stars Mark Wahlberg, Reese Wither­spoon, William Petersen, Alyssa Milano and Amy Brenneman. Mark Wahlberg well played the bad boy. Reese Wither­spoon showed lots of promise in her youthful role. Petersen played the under­standing, over­worked, protective dad with­out a hitch. The smaller roles filled in their parts adequately.

MPAA rated it R for strong graphic violence and terror, sexuality, language and drug use. There's a good drum beat that pervades a lot of the scenes. Music was by Carter Burwell, cinema­tog­raphy by Thomas Kloss. The wide­screen photog­raphy was impressive. The story seemed well balanced, with the human interest angle played to as well as the thrills at the end. The plot moves right along at a good clip throughout.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

This one did have some scary moments in it but after a suitable buildup. It's satisfying as a drama and as a thriller. Face-recognizable actors show early promise. It delivers on the thrills while making the family sympathetic and the bad guy creepy.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Edge of your seat action-packed scenes. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Well done special effects. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Apocryphal scripture taken from The Septuagint with Apocrypha: Greek and English. U.S.A.: Hendrick­son Pub. Originally published by Samuel Bagster & Sons, Ltd., London, 1851. Print, WEB.