The Movie Waffler New Release Review - In Fear | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - In Fear

A young couple are menaced late at night in the Irish countryside.

Directed by: Jeremy Lovering
Starring: Iain De Caestecker, Alice Englert, Allen Leech

After meeting her on a night out, Tom (De Caestecker) invites Lucy (Englert) to accompany him to a music festival in a remote part of Ireland. She accepts, unaware that Tom has a surprise in store; he's taken it upon himself to book the couple into a hotel on the first night. Suspicious at first, Alice goes along and they set off for the hotel, following an unhelpful map and road signs that seem to keep bringing them in circles. With the evening growing darker, Tom and Lucy struggle to find their way out of what seems a maze of backroads. Then, a mysterious figure in a white mask begins to terrorize the couple. Is Tom's earlier altercation in a pub to blame?
As a child, we would be brought by my father on trips to the Irish countryside most Sundays. Everything was delightful during the day, a welcome break from the concrete and smoke of our Dublin suburb. On the drive home, however, with night approaching, the rural backroads of County Wicklow would take on a sinister visage. Trees that seemed to have escaped the set of some gothic horror production loomed over the family car, rubbing their overgrown branches menacingly against the side of the car. Looking up through the car's sunroof presented me with the terrifying sight of these trees seemingly engulfing me, set to pounce.
Director Lovering brought back memories of these childhood trips with this creepy little chiller. The best horror movies prey on simple fears. Here it's the fear of the dark, of strangers and of loss of control. It's a simple plot with just three speaking characters and Lovering mines his scares with a simplicity that the likes of James Wan could learn from. The first appearance of the masked stranger is particularly unsettling and an early scene where a character is pulled into the ditches is shocking, as we've become so accustomed to overlong build-ups it's alarming to see a horror film's villain strike so early.
In the final act, the film loses its way as Lovering struggles to wrap things up but for the most part 'In Fear' is an intense road trip, made all the more interesting by confining most of its action to the inside of a car.

Eric Hillis