Tuesday, 11 March 2014

In Fear (2013)

Ever since the American classic Deliverance appeared way back in 1972, being lost in the woods with unseen local pursuers has been a staple of suspenseful thrillers. In Fear is a very British/Irish take on the set up.

Directed by Jeremy Lovering, In Fear takes new couple Tom (Iain De Castecker) and Lucy (Alice Englert) deep into the Irish countryside on their first weekend away together when they soon find themselves not only lost but being purposely led in circles by some mysterious tormentor. As the sun sets fears reach a head and the stakes rise as the couple tear into each other as well as those who would scare them.

The concept of getting lost in the countryside and having someone mess with you isn't exactly the newest idea under the sun, but in this debut picture from Lovering he manages to keep it pretty fresh. Bleak open moorlands giving way to the densely forested, claustrophobic back lanes reinforces the sense of isolation and the descent into a dark hell that only the locals can win in.

A mixture of unsettlingly close shots and repeated scenery (90% of the set is identical roads and the couple's car) breeds an atmosphere of distrust between both each of the character and the audience with them. These people barely know each other, and it's obvious. Tom and Lucy only met two weeks ago, and the fact that they don't quite click becomes apparent rather quickly. For once, it's actually commendable to the actors to be able to say there's no chemistry, because there isn't meant to be.

It might just be two duelling banjos away from a cliche, but In Fear delivers on its promise to put the anxiety of being lost in the woods back into your heart.

Diddleing ding ding ding ding ding diiing...

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