FANatic (2017)

<strong class="MovieTitle">FANatic</strong> (2017)

(On Cable TV, December 2018) Anyone who seriously claims that the latest multiplex movie is the worst thing they’ve seen all year either makes the claim on the first week of January or should spend more time looking at what’s being offered on Cable TV channels. Horrible movies, movies made for minuscule budgets, movies without discernible talent either in front or behind the camera. Terrible, terrible movies, and we Canadians often get it twice as hard given CanCon requirements for cable channel licences. That’s right: we get extra special servings of terrible movies as long as they’re made in Canada. This is important in setting expectations for FANatic, a made-for-Cable Lifetime TV movie that by all rights should have been terrible. Surprisingly enough, it merely turns out to be not very good. The distinction is important—some of those straight-to-Cable films are bad enough that you can’t even make it to the end. FANatic, on the other hand, has enough juice to last until the end, even though it doesn’t rise up to any decent standard. I suppose that I have a built-in fondness for its premise, in which the strange subculture of media SF fandom is mined for the usual Lifetime stalker plot template. Here we have Betsy Brandt as the lead actress in a Science Fiction TV show—she’s got enough problem with the silliness and sexism of the job, but it’s all about to get worse once her trusty assistant turns out to be not so trusty … and even homicidal. Hell hath no fury like a scorned fan, and seeing obsessive fandom portrayed in Lifetime fashion is good for a few giggles. Jean-François Rivard’s workmanlike direction is a bit better than usual for those kinds of films, but once again we’re grading on a curve. Katy Breier is cute when she’s not playing pure psycho. I’m not going to actually recommend FANatic—life’s too short to give two hours of it to a Lifetime movie—, but I will vaguely allude to a half-hearted recognition that it’s not as bad as it could have been, and through its sci-fi hook will appeal to viewers who normally would not even be watching a Lifetime movie.

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