'13 — Fear Is Real'


Beware! BEWARE! Prepare to run like the wind from any show that lists among its credits something called a "supervising scare producer," not to mention two run-of-the-mill scare producers.

"13 — Fear Is Real" is the dripping-with-irony title of a CW-staged unscripted venture that scarcely could be more fake: preposterous snapshots of 13 young people trying their best to scream rather than laugh.

Somehow, "Spider-Man" guru Sam Raimi lent his name to this dithering mess that requires its "competitors" to "face their deepest fears" — which evidently surrounds humiliating themselves on national TV — while competing to "stay alive." As if the 12 people who won't win the grand prize of $66,666 are in some type of actual danger.

In the opening installment of this unintentionally hilarious rope-a-dope, we learn that the real people present are terrible actors, world-class vapid or both. They're said to be pitted against one another in situations culled from bad horror-movie scripts while a mock-scary voice chides them for being lame and cowardly.

We're supposed to feel their fear when they're left dangling in the dark by themselves, save for the fact we know there is least one cameraman and a sound guy — and certainly a producer and probably a craft-services caterer or two — hanging nearby.

I have a much better idea: How about gathering 13 programming executives and forcing them to watch one another's reality pilots from the past two years? We could call it "Oy — You Can't Be Serious!" I'd gladly fork over $19.95 on pay-per-view to watch that. I might even agree to serve as a supervising scare producer. (partialdiff)