In Fear

UK | 2013 | Directed by Jeremy Lovering

Logline: A fresh young couple driving to a music festival become lost following directions to a romantic prelude in remote countryside and are terrorised by a local.

In Fear is one of those movies that shouldn’t be as good as it is. Very little happens to very few people in not much of a place. But In Fear is awash with atmosphere, soaked in style, and drips with dread. Jeremy Lovering does wonders with his own script, basically a Straw Dogs meets The Hitcher meets Them scenario. All the elements are phenomenal, and they work like a glue keeping together what is essentially a far-fetched piece of nonsense.

Tom (Iain De Caestecker) has met Lucy (Alice Englert, Jane Campion’s daughter) a couple weeks earlier at a bar. Now he’s invited her to join him in attending a music festival in the Irish countryside. After an incident at a local pub, the details of which remain sketchy at best, and remain so for the entire movie, although the incident itself becomes a point of contention for all of the three lead characters. The third wheel is Max (Allen Leech) whom is glanced by their car in the dead of night along a narrow road. His head injury seems worse, apparently a knife wound from the same people that have been pursuing Tom and Lucy. Probably the same bunch of local bogans from the pub.

Before you can say, “I’vebeenwatchingyouprancinglikeatityouneedworkingonlad” the three young hopefuls are caught up in a cat and mouse game. But who exactly is the cat? The claws’ owners are eventually revealed, and there’ll be tears before dawn. Much teary action indeed.

Lovering has come from a background of directing television, and In Fear his feature debut. The visual narrative is bursting with vibrant cinematic technique; lots of closeups, crazy angles, tilt-shift perspective. The cinematography from David Katznelson is fantastic. Most of the point of views take place from within the car, as much of the time spent with Tom and Lucy they are trying to get the hell aware from Kilhairney House, the apparent hotel where they were to spend a snugly night before arriving at the festival.

The title leaves a lot to be desired, even when you tenuously apply it to the terroriser’s motive, or lack thereof. But what the movie doesn’t possess in terms of dramatic arc makes up for it in tension and suspense. This is very much a movie that demands to be watched late at night, and preferably alone. The three performances are excellent and they lift the movie’s game considerably. So good are they that you forgive the screenplay for making them act so stupidly. But hey, if they did act sensibly they wouldn’t have gone any further than that first shackled farm gate, and we wouldn’t have a movie.

In Fear is one of those videos on the shelves that you’d have probably passed over because the title is so lame, but now you know it’s worth renting. Especially since it's Hallowe'en.