Of all the films I saw at this years FrightFest I have to admit that it was In Fear that affected me the most. A low budget British independent film with its stark and simple set up, extreme realism and relatability made it spin chillingly effective and extremely frightening and with its release in cinemas upon us now everyone can experience its thrills and chills themselves.
As mentioned the story is very straightforward opening with Tom and Lucy (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Iain De Caestecker and Beautiful Creatures Alice Englert) meeting up in a pub on the boarders of the Irish wilderness to head to a festival to join their mutual friends.
Tom has planned a night in a romantic and remote hotel for the pair first hoping to get to know and woo Lucy at the same time but after an unseen and unexplained altercation in the pub Lucy is already on edge and this is just the start of their journey.
Guided by a Land Rover to the entrance of the hotel’s grounds the pair start to follow the signs as their Sat-Nav has no signal. As night draws in however they realise that the directions are leading them in circles. Certain that someone is playing games with them they desperately attempt to escape but everything they do simply tangles them up further in the web of fear created for them by their unseen adversary.
Made on a low budget with a small cast In Fear proves that you don’t need masses of money or special effects to craft pure unadulterated tension and terror something that first time feature director Jeremy Lovering seems to be an expert at in this film.
In Fear’s trick is making the audience feel completely involved and immersed in the situation being as it concerns such a mundane and ordinary task, finding your way somewhere. We have all been in a car either driving or directing someone to an unknown location but this thoroughly modern mission has deep dark roots in primal fears and fairy tales.
From Red Ridding Hood and Hansel and Gretel to urban legends of hitchhikers and escaped maniacs we all have a fear of being lost in the dark. Add to that the fact that someone or some group of people are out their maliciously manipulating the situation and mean you harm and you have the perfect cocktail of chaos to cause complete paranoia and dread in everyone involved.
Credit must also be paid to Caestecker and Englert who are both excellent playing their parts with pure realism and reacting just as convincingly (mainly because they had no idea about what was happening to them according to Lovering.)
Revelations about their characters slowly eke out along the way as shocking to us as they are to each other keeping everyone guessing right up until the horrifying ending which leaves you with a lot more to meditate on than you might think.
The triumph of In Fear is its ability to place the audience in fear and hold them their for the entire running time and that’s what makes it one of the most frightening films of the year.
I grantee after seeing this you will never want to get lost while out driving every again.