Directed by Jeremy Lovering
“Violence is the mother and the daughter.”
Next up at Sundance 2013 from Big Talk Pictures, Film4 and StudioCanal is UK director Jeremy Lovering’s feature film debut In Fear. The flick is more of a psychological thriller and plays on a person’s fears using a claustrophobic setting and a very intense soundtrack. This stylistic approach keeps the tension running relatively consistently throughout the entire 85-minute runtime.
Two weeks into their relationship Tom (De Castecker) and Lucy (Englert) have made plans to go on a camping trip and attend a music festival with friends. After making a pit stop at a local pub, the couple head out on their excursion. Upon leaving Tom informs Lucy of a minor altercation that took place at the pub over a spilled pint that ended in an apology and a round for practically the entire establishment. In an attempt at romanticism Tom also tells Lucy that they are going to take an extra day to arrive at the camp as he has planned an evening alone for them at the lovely Kilairney House Hotel.
Led by an escort vehicle to the gate, the couple have to work their way through a maze of small back roads following signs for the hotel that seem to only lead them in complete circles. Night falls and fear and paranoia set in for what is to become a foreboding night in the woods.
In an attempt to make this chiller more convincing, we learned prior to the screening that Lovering made this a learning experience for his lead actors as well as himself. In order to induce real fear in Englert and De Castecker, they were not provided with a script, only some guided dialog to keep them going. They had no clue of any twists, scares, or attacks that would occur as the story unfolded. This certainly had an impact on the cause and effect portion of the feature, a seemingly ballsy approach to filmmaking, but certainly appreciated by the audience.
In Fear is a decent little eerie thriller made possible by great acting by the leads whose visible frustration builds throughout the entire feature, causing extreme turmoil between the two. Lovering makes great use of location and limited set using only a car for 90% of the film. Toss in of course the excellent, but sometimes too loud score by Roly Porter and Daniel Pembleton and a somewhat twisted ending, and you have everything you need. A few shortcomings follow late in the second act into the third, including the obvious antagonist, and some very poor decision-making by our leads that might leave some scratching their heads. In the grand scheme of things, however, In Fear is a fairly well thought out piece that should have no problem finding an appropriate audience. A shout out must also be given to whoever laid out the superb opening credits; they were nothing short of incredible. If you like edge-of–your-seat thrillers, this is one ride you’re going to want to take.
3 1/2 out of 5