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The Fear Inside Review

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In this above-average "home invasion" thriller, agoraphobic Christine Lahti takes student Jennifer Rubin into her house as a boarder and is none too upset when her sympathetic "brother" (Dylan McDermott) shows up for a while.

However, Rubin and McDermott (who may or may not be brother and sister) are lovers and murderers, fleeing from the robbery-and-killing of a rich old lady with souvenirs like an antique ring and a severed finger. The criminals, who have their own complicated relationship of betrayal and dependency, become more and more erratic, Rubin deteriorating from perky girl-next-door into fright-wigged horror harridan, and trigger-happy panicker McDermott torn between the two psychologically damaged women.

It has a long, slow build-up made effective by the three mainly understated central performances and unusual character quirks, but pays off with a finely melodramatic round of gut-churning tension.