Take a couple formed two weeks ago in a bar, set them off into the Irish countryside and watch the tension between the pair grow as they become the victims of a series of freakish events. Throw in a devious twist or two and you have In Fear: a taut psychological thriller.
Iain de Caestecker (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and Alice Englert (Ginger and Rosa, Beautiful Creatures) masterfully portray lovebirds Tom and Lucy. Within the first fifteen minutes of the movie, I was convinced by their bubbling romance, which made the torture inflicted upon them all the more horrifying. However, though watching their descent into violent paranoia was disturbing, the dramatic effect was lessened by the fact that not only are they relative strangers to each other, so is the case for the viewer. I didn’t learn enough about either Tom or Lucy to care much about whether they get through their night unscathed. The dialogue at the beginning of their road trip was too scarce.
Fun fact: most of the screams in the movie were generated by genuine scares. Director Lovering made good use of a bare bones script, à-la The Blair Witch Project, with praise-worthy authenticity as a result. The visuals were striking: murky and eerily beautiful shots of the forest that seemed to grow in menace throughout the film’s 85-minute length, thanks to Roly Porter and Daniel Pemberton’s imposing soundtrack and harsh audio cues.
Overall, In Fear was good. Unfortunately, there’s no resounding impression. I find that the affair lacked originality and drive, meandering into petty conflict all too often for my taste.
In Fear screens as part of the Sinister Cinema screenings on Thursday March 13 at the Cineplex Odeon Forum (2313 St. Catherine). 7:30 p.m.