In Fear (2013) – Jeremy Lovering

 

Anchor Bay got the distribution rights to one of the few films I missed at Toronto After Dark last year, so I was very glad they were willing to send me a copy to have a look at. I enjoyed the experience, but can only imagine that it played very well at TAD and as part of Sinister Cinema’s presentation at Cineplex theaters last week.

To put it succinctly, In Fear is a taut little paranoid thriller that I found well crafted and acted, and flies by at a brisk 85 minutes. In lieu of seeing this one in a theater, I watched it the next best possible way… in the dark.

Sitting there I watched as young couple, Tom (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Iain De Caestecker) and Lucy (Alice Englert) traverse the beautiful Irish countryside on their way to a festival, with a quick, hopefully romantic night stop at a quaint inn.

We’re thrown right into things as Tom and Lucy flee a tiny pub, and while we don’t know why, we suspect something has happened, and even Lucy isn’t quite sure what occurred.

Asking her to forget it, Tom instead does his best to try to romance his passenger, and the two of them make an appealing couple. Things actually seem to be going well, until, despite following the directions they have been provided with they become lost within a tiny maze of lanes and back roads in the countryside.

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It gets worse, when it seems there is someone in the surrounding woods watching and stalking them.

For a small indie horror film, this one really entertained. It’s creepy, it has well-earned jump scares, and for I got into this one more than any Hollywood horror film I’ve seen in a while.

I love the cinematography, of the countryside, which rapidly descends into shadow and then all-consuming darkness as the night progresses with the lights of the car providing the only illumination, a dim candle against the surrounding black.

Inside the car, especially when the tension is ramped up, the image is kept in shallow focus, and the image’s framing gives a claustrophobic feeling to the film.

This isn’t a film that is high on gore and musical stings, and pandering to the audience, this one you have to watch and get involved with, and I find that the better pay off in a horror movie.

There are moments when you begin to suspect that not even Lucy or Tom can be trusted. There’s a nice flow of tension running throughout the film, and I got very caught up in it. There are some fantastic moments to it, there’s someone watching them in a field, that you only see for a split second, or is there? Flicking the lights from low beams to high beams and discovering someone standing at the edge of the light… These are all real fears that are put up on the screen, and they work stunningly well.

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De Caestecker and Englert are well cast, showing the possible blossoming of a romantic relationship at the beginning of the film, and the way everything between them simply falls apart as they are given choices, fight to get out, even to survive these hedge-rowed and wooded lanes.

The Blu-Ray looks great, though it is sadly lacking in extras, I would have loved a commentary track, but the image is sharp and clear, and looks great playing in a darkened room, and the sound, always important in a horror film, brings the woods to life and keeps the car’s engine revving like a heartbeat, saying get out, get out, get out…

This is one to watch, curled up on the couch with a blanket or someone to clutch and hold on to, and just enjoy.

What did you think of it?

In Fear is available now from Anchor Bay on DVD and Blu-Ray!

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