Moose (John Travolta) gets an opportunity to meet his all-time favourite celebrity- the actor Hunter Dunbar (Devon Sawa). Excitedly, Moose purchases a prop from one of the actor’s films, hoping to get an autograph. But Moose becomes deeply upset when his moment with Hunter Dunbar is interrupted, and the actor walks away from his autograph table. Moose soon develops an obsession with wanting an autograph and develops stalker tendencies towards the actor.
While it is not ever mentioned in the film, it’s clear that Moose, as a character, is someone who isn’t ‘all there’. His mannerisms, including how he speaks and interacts with others, show a lot about him as a character. To John Travolta’s credit, it’s evident that the actor is committed to this role. No matter how silly and awkward the sign is for the entire runtime, good on Travolta for 100% saving.
But as a character, Moose is merely unlikeable. Nothing about him will give an audience member a reason to support his actions as he becomes more and more obsessed with the actor Hunter Dunbar. Sure, as a plot, some might feel sorry for Moose when he misses his opportunity to gain an autograph. Dunbar, after all, is also rude to Moose and rude to walk out on his fans, but I can’t excuse the motives that go on from here for the leading character.
The Fanatic lacks details multiple times throughout the film, and the writing feels lazy. For example, when Moose begins to stalk the actor’s home and lifestyle, he even decides to post photos online, and only one person notices this on social media (eye roll). The wig the main character is wearing in this film (and I am 100% confident the actor is wearing a wig) is rather distracting and can’t be taken seriously.
The Fanatic is simply a B Grade film, and there are elements that some may enjoy. One such feature includes Moose’s knowledge of cinema, as he references many horror films and celebrities. In the end, The Fanatic is designed to try and shock its audiences. By the third and final act, I was shocked, but I’m sure not in the way the writers and directors intended. I was appalled at the ridiculous violence, gore and, most importantly, one of the most dissatisfying endings I have seen in a film in some time. It just didn’t make sense to me.
The film also has a narration throughout, which is an unnecessary ingredient. It doesn’t give any further development or insight into Moose’s life, nor is it critical to the plot.
Fun fact: Fred Durst directed the film. You guessed it- from the rock band “Linkin Park”. Fred Durst was kind enough to sneak in one Linkin’ Park track in the film. But besides this Easter egg, I didn’t mind the film’s instrumental track, even though it felt slightly repetitive.
Overall, The Fanatic gives movie lovers a disappointing and shocking experience. I’ll credit Travolta, saying I respect that he has given this performance everything he has. But no matter what, the characters are impossible to support, and the film’s plot is outrageous. Some moments lack detail and elements that are not required, such as the random narration. But in the end, The Fanatic is a shocking experience. I’m honestly at a loss for words, not in a good way.