Rated R. Opens Friday at the Roxie Theater.
Who knew the frontbro of Limp Bizkit was such a competent director? The Fanatic is in fact Fred Durst’s third feature film, and as rockers turned-filmmakers go, Durst is thankfully closer to Rob Zombie than Glenn Danzig, though he’s more character-focused than either. Moose (John Travolta) is a socially awkward movie buff who is obsessed with action/horror star Hunter Dunbar (Devon Sawa). When Moose’s sense of fan entitlement is offended by Dunbar brushing him off at a signing, Moose begins stalking Dunbar, eventually invading his home. The Fanatic is arguably an updating of The King of Comedy, but that’s okay, since it’s a story that needs updating every so often as the culture and technology changes. (See also: Invasion of the Body Snatchers.) More proof that Durst knows what he’s doing comes from his casting of Sawa as the celebrity being obsessed over in The Fanatic, since Sawa played Stan in the Eminem video of the same name, and the word “stan” has since become both a noun and a verb for obsessive fan-worship. (The original Stan getting stanned? It’s fanatics all the way down!) There’s also a kick-in-the-teeth final shot which reframes The Fanatic’s third act, and uncomfortably suggests that, like Moose, the viewer has also been focusing on the wrong things.