Directed by Jeremy Lovering
Starring Iain De Caestecker, Alice Englert, Allen Leech
Review by Jordan
What credit do you give a thriller that succeeds on multiple occasions in its intention to scare, but even more regularly lowers its grade through overzealous use of clichés and a reliance on surprises that are surprisingly non-existent? In Fear makes us ponder this question, as it places an unfamiliar couple in a small car lost in a maze-like forest, being relentlessly stalked and terrorised by a hooded assailant whose appearance leaves these kids in the state described in the film’s title. Although, you mightn’t be able to guess it… Tom (Iain De Caestecker) waltzing out of the car to take a leak in spite of the terror on his girlfriend’s face and the two of them agreeing to pick up a complete stranger in the dead of night (who they did understandably hit with their car) are two examples of many bizarre character decisions made, and they follow a comically lengthy sequence in which Lucy (the lovely Alice Englert) tries to study the world’s most unhelpful map as they’re led in circles for what seems like an eternity by a collection of mischievously directed road sings in search of a hotel.
Lumbering trees are felled, clothes meticulously scattered and the occasional glimmer of hope provided in what seems like an over-the-top response to something that may or may not have happened at the local pub, and all the while the relationship between two young love birds at the center of it all rapidly deteriorates.
This truly is a frustrating film; one that draws chilling suspense from its quiet moments but then opts to spoil them through use of these far-fetched elements, none of which existing in a real world setting but rather a county pieced together by worn ideas that uses the darkness to hide it’s rough edges. As proceedings escalate it becomes alarming just how unoriginal this road trip into the heart of the well-known becomes; a snapped hand and macabre use of a gas tank do their best to reignite a pulse, but unfortunately for all it’s endeavor In Fear will only feel alive to those who have never seen the titles that influenced it.
British horror films had somewhat of a renaissance in the 2000’s thanks to notable directors such as Danny Boyle and Neil Marshall, the former creating a world in a state of alarm and the latter pitting brave characters against unfathomable odds, and while the build up of dread early on in Jeremy Lovering’s first contribution showed plenty of promise, he will need to work on where his stories lead before he too can leave an important imprint.