New couple Tom and Lucy head to a secluded hotel for a romantic getaway before meeting their friends at a music festival. When they get lost following signs that appear to send them on a wild goose chase it becomes apparent that there is more to it than dodgy road signs.
‘The best British chiller since The Descent’ is a very tall statement, emblazoned on the front of the DVD cover. Indeed In Fear certainly has the potential to thrill; set in the gorgeous Irish countryside with a small cast of three talented young actors, a simple yet effective plot and boasting the same makers that brought us Sightseers. However the simplicity leaves the film lacking in parts and it doesn’t quite have that edge that one would hope for in a film like this.
The two lead actors do a brilliant job carrying the entire film. The majority of the film is simply a character study of this new couple as their pursuit by an unknown tormentor frightens and challenges them. Somehow In Fear manages to remain interesting and gripping despite the very simple set up of two characters in a car. Iain De Caestecker (Filth) and Alice Englert (Beautiful Creatures) work very well together and deliver solid and believable performances while Allen Leech (Downton Abbey) completely steals the show as our antagonist. The clever writing means that the tiny cast never gets boring and somehow the film keeps us on the edge of our seats till the unfortunately disappointing ending.
Disappointingly the film never fully takes advantage of the brilliantly creepy location, which is the perfect eerie setting for a horror film. While it does keep you on the edge of your seat, you are almost always left wanting and expecting more, but sadly it never delivers. It lacks the dramatic and terrifying crescendo that could have turned the film from mediocre to mind blowing and while there are some jump scares and very eerie moments using clever camerawork and really exploring the potential of the dark, creepy setting, the scares are few and far between.
Allen Leech‘s performance as the unknown and seemingly motiveless tormentor Max is probably the film’s saving grace, and had his performance not been completely impeccable, all sense of menace would have been lost. The long scene of him in the car with them, pretending to be another victim really keeps you on your toes and he performs the part so well that the ‘is he/isn’t he’ questions make it all the more terrifying and you’re never entirely sure where the film is going.
Lucy is possibly the only likeable character out of the three, so the ending is satisfying in many ways, however it does still feel like something is missing. If the film had taken more advantage of the stunning and incredibly creepy setting and included more jump scares and genius tension-building techniques then it could have been amazing, however by the end something still feels quite disappointing, like it hasn’t quite hit the spot and the abrupt and somewhat inconclusive ending makes it all the more frustrating.
In Fear doesn’t quite meet up to its comparison to The Descent however it does do a very good job trying. It’s tense, for sure, and promises to keep you on the edge of your seat till the very end, however disappointing that ending might be! The performances are brilliant and it is a taught, clever little thriller boasting a stunning location it just feels slightly lacking, but you can’t have everything, can you?!