In Fear Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
DVD released by Studiocanal
Written and Directed by Jeremy Lovering
2013, 85 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 10th March 2014
Iain De Caestecker as Tom
Alice Englert as Lucy
Allen Leech as Max
A fledgling young couple, on the way to a hip music festival, hop into the boyfriend’s car for a cosy drive around the British countryside. After getting on the wrong side of the grumpy locals in a rural pub (to be fair, it’s not hard to do. Just ask the protagonists of any backwoods horror film or characters of Emmerdale) the pair find themselves lost in a maze of dark country roads, bickering with one another and, eventually, in fear (the title, geddit) for their very lives. Well, they do say that the first holiday together can make or break a couple.
With a core cast of two kids and a car (plus one mid-film addition), In Fear has a very limited canvas upon which to present its wares. What didn’t go so well for the atrocious Five Across the Eyes played better in the creepy Wind Chill; the differences between the two revealing how little margin for error there is on such a small-scale piece.
Thankfully, we’re more in the territory of the latter here, with talented young star-on-the-rise Iain De Caestecker continuing to impress as young Tom. He was great in the underrated and under-watched The Fades, and displays a similar level of talent here. Alice Englert is good as Lucy, especially considering that her role here doesn’t give her much more to do than scream and be confused. To be fair, she has plenty to be confused by, with car doors slamming, shadows leering from the bushes and car keys mysteriously going missing. Tom’s no help either, repeatedly taking his frustrations out on the poor girl.
The first half is strong; tense, atmospheric and remarkably creepy, it sets forth a promising premise for a homegrown low-budget British horror. Director Jeremy Lovering handles the pacing and mounting terror well, crafting an experience that could have rivalled Paranormal Activity or The Blair Witch Project, if done right. Alas, as soon as the nature of the threat is revealed, all that tension and mystery evaporates, replaced by a villain who isn’t remotely scary. It remains watchable and intelligent throughout, but struggles to recapture its earlier sense of urgency and terror.
With In Fear, an old adage is once again proved – sometimes the scariest things are best left unseen.