22 March 2014 | eonbluedan-1
A lot of potential
Bringing together elements of, and to varying degrees echoing film such as 'The Blair Witch Project', 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' and the fairly recent British nasties 'Kill List' and 'Eden Lake', director Jeremy Lovering brings us a tale of two people in an early days relationship getting lost in the woods. Relatively speaking, they are stranger to one another as well as to us, and one feels that in another writer/director's hands, this fact could have become more pertinent than it actually does here, which is a shame.
They are on their way to a music festival and are trying to find a hotel they are booked in at. Seems straightforward enough, right? Of course things don't go as planned; they find themselves driving in circles with no hotel to be seen. Next thing confusion and concern set in; as dusk draws close, the weather worsens, their fuel runs low, their map proves inaccurate, and the country roads they drive all begin to look the same, we are invited to feel the very real fear most of us can relate to, and it must be said in this at least, the film proves extremely effective. Indeed, the first hour or so of 'In Fear' had me gripped and actually feeling something I don't often have the pleasure of when watching a horror/thriller on my own: Genuinely spooked. The performances are reasonable and the tension nicely handled; Lovering's ability to generate palpable horror from a simple scenario and drag it out for quite so long IS impressive.
It is a shame, then, that when the time comes for the film to play its hand a little more, the tension is released and we enter a world of silliness; the reasoning for the situation arising in the first place and its justification seem flimsy. Shattered is the hope that we were going to be dealing with loftier themes of existential fear and relationships, or even something more down to earth and rooted in an important social element, ala 'Eden Lake'; the last twenty minutes takes a direction a lot more simple and I daresay boring, given the promise of the previous acts.
This guy will make a better film than this in future, but for now, this is a reasonable shot at something compelling, even if it falters in the last act. Worth a watch for the promise it makes with its fist hour.