ever wondered what it would be like to have an Irish approximation of one of
the early Wes Craven films (Last House on the Right, The Hills Have Eyes)
with a whole heck of a lot less blood, In Fear is probably as close
as you are going to get.
Writer/director Jeremy Lovering actually does a masterful job of ratcheting
up the suspense over the first 45 minutes or so, before his film completely
gets away from him.
Fear is an odd contradiction in many ways – a horror film and yet there
is only one corpse shown (though it is strongly implied that at least one
other character dies as well). Which, I suppose, is a pretty heavy
body count when you consider only three characters are actually physically
seen on screen during the film's 85 minute running time, though we do see a
truckful of locals mooning the couple and there would seem to be lots of odd
people hovering in the shadows and the darkness and peeking through peep
college, a writing professor told me that the hardest stories to tell are
ones that are limited to two or three people, because you can never totally
get away from the situation. You have to keep focused on specific
people and places, you can't hide or distract with other situations.
In Fear is completely focused
on two characters. Tom (Iain De Caestecker) and Lucy (Alice Englert)
had met a couple of weeks earlier in a bar and he somehow (offscreen) talked
her into going away with him to the backwoods of Ireland for a music
festival, camping and partying with friends. For
the great majority of the running time,
Fear starts off seeming like a normal first date, as they drive around
the countryside getting to know each other, having a couple of pints in a
local pub and just chatting. However, this first date goes wrong
quickly enough. In a rather transparent ruse to get laid, Tom admits
to Lucy that the festival doesn't start until the next night and he has
booked them for the night into a beautiful hotel he found on the internet, a
place called The Kilairney House.
has her doubts, but eventually agrees to go with him.
Problem is, he has no idea where this hotel is. He is supposed to meet
an employee from the hotel at the pub to follow him to the hotel. When
the guy in the hotel Jeep finally shows up, he doesn't stop to introduce
himself, just motions for them to follow him.
do, and he eventually leads them to a chained up gate with the name of the
hotel on it, leading to a continuation of country road that stretches out
ahead of them.
apparently never seen a horror film, Max gets out and breaks the fence chain
open, figuring that the Kilairney House must have some really tight security
didn't Max check Yelp or Zagat?
are led into this densely foliated patch of land in which cell phones and
GPS apparently do not work. (Though later in the film, for some reason
the GPS is back on line). The couple follows signs supposedly leading
to the hotel, but eventually leading them in circles around the rain-soaked
area. Then Lucy starts noticing people lurking in the shadows out of
the side of her eye.
they drive deeper into the night, sniping at each other, searching the
woods, someone is leaving them odd clues – a map, dropping some of her
clothes in the middle of the road, a line of dead birds across the road.
film eventually gets away from Lovering when the couple runs down a man in
the woods. The man is a local named Max, who is alive, but bleeding
and insists that he was also being tortured by the same guys from the pub
who seem to be after the couple. But is he really? And if not,
who is he and what does he want?
never know why exactly the person is going to such great extremes to
terrorize the couple. The only explanation at all given is that Tom
spilled someone's drink at a local pub, but it can't be just that, can it?
The film hints that there is more to the story than that, but we never find
out what it was, or even if there really was more. And a later reveal
suggests it may have been as random as a Google search, which makes
everything even more hard to believe.
don't even learn if the supposed bad guy is really trying to kill them.
At one point he leaves a full gas can in the car when they hit empty.
Later it appears that he had his fun and was content to walk away until Max
ups the ante.
then, the suspenseful hold that Lovering had over the audience has
dissipated and the film just shudders from one anticlimactic reveal to
Eventually In Fear is one of those films in which
when the audience finally figures out all that was happening, they end up
wishing that they still did not know.
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All rights reserved. Posted: March 9, 2014.