Sunday, 9 March 2014

In Fear (2013)

In Fear (2013)
Director: Jeremy Lovering
Starring: Iain De Caestecker, Alice Englert and Allen Leech
Running Time: 85 min

  Again, I was totally blind coming into this one as well and what was worse I didn't even recognize the cast or director, with the exception of Allen Leech (Downton Abbey).  Branson! All I knew is that this was going to be available on March 13, 2014 at the Cineplex and there were some good buzz going on about it.  So, crossing my fingers I plunged into the dark woods of "In Fear".

After just dating for two weeks, Tom, played by Iain De Caestecker (Filth, The Little Vampire) and Lucy, played by Alice Englert (Beautiful Creatures, Ginger & Rosa)  head out together to meet some friends at a music festival.  During the trek, they stop at a pub and there is an altercation between Tom and some of the locals that Lucy and the we the audience miss because we are exploring Lucy's bathroom ritual.  We watch as she squats and adds her mark to the bathroom stall poetry.  Anyway, when she's done, Tom rushes them out to the car, explains the situation and assures her that everything is fine.  He then proposes that before they meet their friends, that they spend a romantic evening at an out of the way Hotel that he found online.  She mulls it over and luckily she agrees because moments later, the truck that is to lead them to this romantic getaway beeps behind them and they begin to follow for their passionate evening.
  After quite some time of driving into the middle of nowhere, the road forks and the truck takes a right while waving to them to keep following the road.  Tom and Lucy get out to open the gate and see a truck load of locals from the bar.  They hoot and holler at Tom and Lucy as they try and open the gate and continue to drive down the same right as the other truck.  They get the gate open and Lucy tries to call their friends to let them know about the change of plans, unfortunately there isn't any cell reception that far in the boonies.  This does not detour them though and they continue on the road, leaving no bread crumbs behind.
  As they search for this hotel, they enter a labyrinth of winding roads and night begins to fall.  There GPS system is now down, the road signs keep leading them in circles and the map that Tom downloaded has a useless yellow dot in the middle, so no directions can be read.  Lucy starts seeing things, like people lurking about and thinks that they may have been lead into a trap by some of the locals that Tom had an altercation with.  She begs Tom to find out if anything happened in the pub and Tom assures her that everything is fine.  After condensed hours of driving, Tom and Lucy eventually run into, literally, a very beaten Max, played by Allen Leech (Cowboys & Angels, Rewind) who assures them that locals from the pub are after them but he knows the way out of this hellish maze.  With their petrol running out, can Tom and Lucy finally escape this horrible romantic excursion and the wrath of locals or are they doomed to spin their wheels into oblivion.

  This is the first feature film, written and directed, from long time television director Jeremy Lovering (Sherlock, Sex & Lies).  I really like the set up of the story and how brilliantly Lovering keeps us on hour toes at the very beginning of the film.  Every turn is a new hope for these characters, that they will either find the hotel or find a way out but each road seems to lead back to the same place.  I also like, how he paces the story and it turns into an almost unbearable pressure cooker of terror.  Like Lucy, the audience starts feeling the same paranoia, unable to be sure if what they are seeing is real or just a figment of their imagination.  Iain De Caestecker and Alice Englert play their roles in the first two acts brilliantly and even Allen Leech, who starts off with a very cat and mouse way of helping them is excellent too.  It's a very heavy thriller and you want these people to escape.

  Unfortunately, the third act goes off the rails.  There is a few really good fight scenes and a very highly charged hostage scene near the end but it doesn't really tie up together in a way that rings true.  It is far too uncomplicated that it's almost insulting and you start to dislike the characters for putting themselves into the situation.  Also, the ending really leaves you hanging in a way that isn't necessary and by this time, you don't really care.

This is a good movie that could have been a really great movie but like in Haute Tension, the third act really ruins a movie.  I think Director Jeremy Lovering creates an amazingly frightening atmosphere that will give you the chills but I wish he hadn't made the third act so frustratingly simple.  With that said, I would still recommend checking it out because it may keep you out the woods at night and there are far worse things out there. 

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