Horror review: In Fear

in-fear

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MARCH 28, 2014

A couple of weeks ago the fine folks at Anchor Bay Entertainment sent me a DVD copy of their latest horror release, In Fear, a British film that saw only limited theatrical release in North America last year, and never even made it into Vancouver theatres.

The cover art shows a young woman sitting in a rainsoaked car, smearing the window with her bloodstained hand. Just above that subtly disturbing image are four quotes from various online sources, describing the movie as “chilling” and “a white-knuckle ride”.

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“Genuinely terrifying…an instant classic,” raved the Huffington Post, but I watched it last night anyway.

And I gotta say, the Post was bang on. In Fear is the most engrossing and entertaining horror fick I’ve seen all year. Not that I, Frankenstein and the latest Paranormal Activity flick were that hard to beat.

The movie concerns a young couple, Tom and Lucy (Iain De Caestecker and Alice Englert), who’ve only known each other a couple of weeks but are obviously smitten and wanting to see where the relationship leads. They decide to take in a music festival in the Irish countryside (actually Cornwall, England), but on the way Tom reveals that he’s booked a nice hotel for one night.

Things take a sinister turn after the two stop in at a roadside pub, and some type of confrontation between Tom and a group of regulars takes place. Soon after he and Lucy get trapped in a maze-like system of narrow roads that are supposed to lead them to the Killarney House Hotel, and–between the fear of being hopelessly lost and wondering if they’re being stalked by vengeful locals–the terror quotient gets ramped up to 11.

Then it gets dark.

In his debut feature, writer-director Jeremy Lovering elicits performances from De Caestecker and Englert that always ring true. He accomplished this in part by encouraging them to improvise and, in some cases, not even letting them know where the script was heading.

The result is a masterful example of lean ‘n’ mean outdoor nightmare-making that resonates with the same power of Wolf Creek, but without all the torture and gore.

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