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Fever Reviews

This stylish but disappointingly routine thriller, written and directed by actor-turned-director Alex Winter, may satisfy your curiosity about whatever happened to "Bill" of BILL & TED fame, but won't satisfy much else. Nick Parker (Henry Thomas) is a 28-year-old artist who teaches drawing while struggling in obscurity in a dingy, overheated tenement in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn. One morning, Nick's truculent landlord, Sidney Miskowitz (Sandor Tecsy), is found murdered in his bed, his throat slashed. The police suspect a recently evicted tenant, last seen threatening Mr. Miskowitz's life. But Nick has his eye on his shadowy new neighbor upstairs, Will (David O'Hara), who seems to have materialized in the dead of night. Will knows about strange things like the major muscle groups of the neck, the Third Reich, the Gnostic gospels and the coming New World Order. Mr. Miskowitz's mother (Irma St. Paule), meanwhile, has her suspicions about Nick — she claims to have run into him on the night in question — but she's the least of Nick's problems. He's about to lose his job and he's coming down with a world-class fever. And as his temperature starts rising, the hallucinations begin. Nick is plagued by memories of his dead mother, ghastly visions of murder and weird fever dreams that may not be nightmares at all. The film has a sleek look, a suitably oppressive urban milieu — New York City as infernal machine — and a fairly intense performance from Thomas, but nothing about it is terribly original. What he doesn't owe directly to Roman Polanski (the creeping sense of urban paranoia) or David Lynch (the ominously humming, truly frightening dream sequences), Winter unfortunately owes to those made-for-cable thrillers with cheap twist endings. The only surprise here is how a film with so much promise could ultimately settle for so little.