Jeremy Lovering’s début feature length film follows two young adults on a romantic getaway. Their vacation slowly slips from idyllic to dark as the two become completely lost as night closes in on the claustrophobic lanes of the emerald isle.
This is a film held together primarily through two actors, in fact there’s hardly more than 3 in the entire film. Our key protagonists are Tom (Iain De Caestecker) and Lucy (Alice Englert), a pair who are on what’s essentially their first date. Before meeting their friends at a musical festival in Ireland Tom decides they should spend a night together at a sequestered hotel in the countryside. Anybody who knows anything about anything knows that a horror film + countryside location = trouble. No surprises here, trouble there is.
Signs pointing towards the hotel lead the initially amorous pair in circles, the tight country roads starting to become frighteningly labyrinthine in nature. Both Tom and Lucy begin to panic and tempers begin to fray as they start to suspect they are the subject of a prank from locals Tom had a minor altercation with at the pub previously. Things become increasingly insidious when it becomes very apparent that masked figures are corralling the pair, at which point nerves shatter into full-blown fear.
While In Fear’s plot is derivative and familiar, drawing particular influence from classics such as Straw Dogs and the more contemporary shocker Eden Lake, the direction’s taught and the acting appropriately frantic. It’s genuinely a very uncomfortable tense watch, breaking free off the narrative convention with some impressively conceived twists and turns that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat. With a running time just under 90 minutes, In Fear is succinct and this brevity is one of its core strengths. Just as a silliness begins to loom on the horizon, threatening the film’s otherwise genuinely solid narrative progression, things wrap up right on time.
This isn’t anything particularly new, but that’s in no way to its detriment. In Fear utilises a framework that viewers are comfortable with to instil tension and some genuine shock factors along the way by subtly breaking out of expectation. For a début feature length effort, this is an impressive turn from Lovering who’s clearly a name to look out for in the future. In Fear comes highly recommended, probably best to ensure you don’t have to drive home afterwards though.
In Fear is out on DVD and Blu-Ray now!