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film reel image

Monday, January 16, 2023

First Class Fear 2021 * 1/2 Stars


A teenager with good grades and a future scholarship on the way, gets tormented by her classmates. Oh and her life is being threatened too. That's the gist of the lukewarm whodunit, First Class Fear.

So yeah, I always get frustrated when almost every character in a movie looks the same. I mean you can't tell who's who. Such is the case with First Class Fear. Maybe it's because almost everyone in "Fear" is female. Maybe it's the fact that they're all wearing private school uniforms. Maybe it's that they all talk the same as if they're guest hosts on The Real. Frustrating.

Anyway, First Class Fear is a Lifetime flick that if it wasn't associated with Lifetime TV, would probably be a sort of Mean Girls on steroids. I mean this is really catty stuff. You got gossiping and rumor spreading and social media destroying oh my! All I got to say is "hiss hiss yowl".

So OK, the actresses in First Class Fear (Liz Fenning, Aria Sirvaitis, Christy Tate) are a tad mediocre despite this catfight infrastructure. I mean they are cast well but come on, how hard is it to feature upstanding girls on screen going to a filthy rich academy. Just tell them to look at the cue cards and let 'er rip I guess.

It also doesn't help that "Fear" is choppily edited with a screenplay that recycles itself to the point of tedium. I mean you can only have so many nasty, teenage brushes and/or mother/daughter quarrels before the writers run out of wiggle room.

All in all, there's a severe lack of suspense here permeated by veteran director Jose Montesinos. Because of his impolitic approach to the material, his use of a less than credible, twist villain, and his failure to sell "Fear" as Lifetime when it could've worked better as satire, his First Class Fear is more like "Coach" fear. Natch.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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