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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Alice Englert
Iain De Caestecker
Allen Leech.
Directors
Jeremy Lovering.
Screenwriters
Jeremy Lovering.
Running Time
85 minutes

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In Fear
Irish Scream


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Plot
Tom (De Caestecker) and Lucy (Englert), an English couple, travel to a festival in rural Ireland. Tom has booked a night in a hotel, but they get lost in country lanes. Lucy glimpses a masked man, and the couple are terrorised by persons unknown...


Review
In Fear

Writer-director Jeremy Lovering’s horror movie is so basic in concept it could have been a short or a film-school graduation exercise. Only being genuinely scary excuses round-and-round-the-garden plotting. Leads Tom and Lucy, well-played by Alice Englert and Iain De Caestecker, are on screen almost all the time and only get each other to spark off until Allen Leech shows up as a wounded local in the third act to add humour and perhaps more menace. The characters, who have only been together two weeks, are stuck in their car as evening turns to night, following signposts which maliciously send them back to where they started in the middle of a maze of narrow, unlit country lanes. Uneasy with the situation and each other, they wonder whether they’re the victims of a prank, just imagining things or at the mercy of malign, perhaps supernatural, persecutors.

Though Cornwall substitutes for Ireland, In Fear has a feel for the less picturesque aspect of the countryside (“I have to admit, it looked better on the website,” is a significant line) and the way tiny crises on holiday can fracture relationships. These people irritate each other, a risky strategy which can alienate audiences, but every stupid thing they do or say as things get worse is horridly believable. Lovering has plainly studied what makes a great horror film work: he doesn’t just borrow images from Wolf Creek or The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, but takes stylistic cues, layering a soundtrack of creaky, wheezy nighttime noises to amp up the tension, and favouring ultra-tight close-ups that get uncomfortably close to the twitchy eyes of the terrified protagonists.

It is calculated in its button-pushing, missing out on the awe or transgression that accompanies scariness in more envelope-stretching horrors. In the end, it’s an anecdote rather than a story, even if the last reel holds some well set-up nasty surprises and a pay-off that’s audacious or pretentious, depending on your tolerance for 1970s arty exploitation tricks.


Verdict
It may be contrived and nothing new plot-wise, but In Fear has atmosphere and enough proper scares to deliver on the promise of its title.


Reviewed by Kim Newman

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for In Fear
Empire Star Rating

boring but unorthodox

when the movie ended, i frowned. this is crap. but it was a new approach in executing a horror movie. it's a consolation the lead actors are good looking. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blaine16 at 16:46, 18 December 2013 | Report This Post


i think three's about right

I liked it. Some great moments (scarecrow - that bit with the hair is fantastic!) I like how the moment in the pub is not shown. Sound track was effective. Probably too many close ups for my liking, especially when the car is stationery, it would have been far more atmospheric and to have framed their faces with the open, expansive background. Perhaps this was the budgetary constraints kicking in. Doesn't make a whole lot of sense at times and Tom is too much of a prick to make you care about wh... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tysmuse at 00:41, 21 November 2013 | Report This Post


Oh dear..........

The three star review is a little high IMO. The premise is good, hotel signs that have you going round in circles and the menacing atmosphere from the pursuers unknown. Where this falls flat is the way the two leads just sit and say nothing in places, often looking gormless at times. Some fairly inexplicable plotting occurs as well, such as a random walk into the woods and the fact that the car miraculously gains fuel after being empty. What saves this from one star ignomy is a killer line 'It l... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by filmsunlimited at 21:13, 17 November 2013 | Report This Post


Oh dear..........

The three star review is a little high IMO. The premise is good, hotel signs that have you going round in circles and the menacing atmosphere from the pursuers unknown. Where this falls flat is the way the two leads just sit and say nothing in places, often looking gormless at times. Some fairly inexplicable plotting occurs as well, such as a random walk into the woods and the fact that the car miraculously gains fuel after being empty. What saves this from one star ignomy is a killer line 'It l... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by filmsunlimited at 21:13, 17 November 2013 | Report This Post


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