VOD film review: In Fear
Ivan Radford | On 11, Mar 2014
Director: Jeremy Lovering
Cast: Iain De Caestecker, Alice Englert
Watch In Fear online in the UK: All 4 / Amazon Prime / Apple TV (iTunes) / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / Rakuten TV / Google Play
What we don’t know scares us. That’s a truth that not all horror movies understand. But In Fear isn’t most horror movies.
Jeremy Lovering’s road movie-cum-psychological thriller follows Tom (De Caestecker) and Lucy (Ginger & Rosa’s excellent Alice Englert) as they head to a hotel in the middle of the woods on their way to a festival. They follow one sign, then another, then end up back where they were. All the while, the darkness creeps in.
The onset of night is one of few certainties – and it gnaws away at the calm tension with a slow, ominous determination. By the time shadows have fallen, any comfort has long left the vehicle. That’s one of the impressive things about Jeremy Lovering’s film: it doesn’t get out of the car. Trapped on the passenger seat, it’s a claustrophobic story set out in the open; Buried on wheels.
Alice Englert are Iain De Caestecker are excellent as the creeped-out couple, at first flirting awkwardly before falling into full-on arguments. For all their natural chemistry, Lovering makes sure they’re unsure too, letting them improvise while only telling them what’s happening now and keeping any future pages of the script secret. That fuels their growing panic, driven along by a lack of exposition; we don’t know who these people are and neither do they. Can Lucy trust Tom at all? Or Tom, Lucy?
The low-key cinematography and subtle sound design keep the engine ticking over smoothly; there are no big bumps or cheap jumps here. Instead, just a heightened suspense that relentlessly shifts up through the gears. The enigma accelerates even faster when they almost run over Max (Allen Leech), who’s also trying to escape the woods. The menacing three-handed final act keeps things unpredictable, playing on earlier either/or games to reach a horrific climax – but after such expert navigation of unease, any answer Lovering provides is almost guaranteed to be an anti-climax. An ending sequence leaves you feeling like the GPS has hit a dead-end, when it could have stopped 100 yards before.
Nonetheless, in an age of slashers and torture porn, where more is shown rather than less, In Fear is a rare, riveting reminder that it’s not blood or loud noises that keep you awake; it’s fear itself. What we don’t know scares us. And In Fear knows that only too well.
In Fear is available on All 4 until 9th February 2021.