2014’s “In Fear” is worth the rental. The poor flick hasn’t claimed the greatest online reviews. I know the reason why: you’ll either love it or hate it. It’s got simple settings, much like Sandra Bullock and George Clooney’s “Gravity”. It fits best as a suspenseful horror film rather than the mainstream action-packed, grisly blood and gore movies.
Deal with it, people. Movies must evolve from those that are a dime a dozen!
This film does so much with so little. The movie almost exclusively includes three characters, played by “Downton Abbey” favorite, Allen Leech (Tom Branson), and Iain De Caestecker and Alice Englert. Yet, the three actors are so intense, so utterly believable, you really want to see what will happen next. I will always applaud any writers, actors, directors, crew members that can get me to watch on and on waiting to see what will happen next with practically one setting and three characters throughout an entire film.
It doesn’t hurt that the setting in this thriller is in a remote area of Ireland with windy, narrow roads. The place just looks creepy in the dark, like there’s somebody just waiting to jump out in front of your car from the trees. Fear and suspense hang in the air!
The main “In Fear” characters are Tom (De Caestecker) and Lucy (Englert). The two have known each other for a couple of weeks, and Tom sets up a hotel room for their first night together. But, poor Tom and Lucy’s night will probably involve little time for sweet love-making.
En route to their remote hotel, strange things happen. There’s lost keys. Lucy’s clothes are inexplicably scattered across the road. Shadows seem so human-like.
Oh, and to make matters worse, a truck seemingly full of drunks from the local pub may be following them. That and their petrol supply is low…
The couple is convinced that someone who met them earlier at the pub must want to have a little fun at their expense. They’re practically put in a maze as each sign to the isolated hotel leads them back to the same starting point. Help is non-existent; there’s no cell or satellite signal to guide their efforts.
De Caestecker and Englert are instantly likable as a couple. You don’t want them to get injured or die — well, at least at first. After some bickering and blame shot between Tom and Lucy as they realize they’re lost, their sweet starter romance seems to dissolve rather quickly.
Then, well into the second half of the movie, injured Max shows up. Surprise! Max is played by the impeccable talent that is Leech.
Max isn’t anything like ‘Downtown’s’ level-headed Tom Branson. He’s covered in blood, yet he talks a mile a minute, probing Tom and Lucy for answers about what is going on. And, the thing is, he seems to know a little too much…
It’s obviously a no-brainer that Max is mentally unstable. Should they try to give him help? Is he just pretending to be stalked like prey, too, or is he the stalker? Either way, his presence further pits Tom and Lucy against each other. Any sense of camaraderie the two had before this messy journey began is in jeopardy.
Director Jeremy Lovering, the writers, producers and cast members may have been trying to channel the genius of Alfred Hitchcock in this flick. Your socks aren’t going to be knocked off, but you will commend the cast and crew for making a movie interesting that takes place mainly in a car interior. With its building suspense, “In Fear” may leave you with a few nightmares — and new fears — of your own.
This film is rated R.