In the fall of 2013 the Internet blew up with buzz about a little film called In Fear. It was called scary, and original. So I’ve been chomping at the bit, waiting for this Irish horror film to make its way to the States. I almost plopped down the cash for a rental on Amazon Instant Video, but then found out it was hitting DVD the following Tuesday, so Redbox won out.
In Fear opens with a guy talking on a phone, asking a girl he just met if she would like to go away for the weekend. This sets the film up nicely, as the logos scroll across the screen. The film then finds Tom (Iain De Caestecker) and his lady friend, Lucy (Alice Englert), venturing off for that weekend away, but they quickly get lost in the woods. Things start to get weird as mysterious figures appear in the dark, trees start falling, and God knows what else.
Right from the very start, In Fear has a Jeepers Creeper vibe. They even meet a truck along the way and annoy the mysterious driver, who eventually takes off. There is friendly banter between the two characters, which helps make them endearing to the audience. But, then they pull over and do stupid things that just don’t make any sense.
I was still drawn in, though. I mean who wouldn’t leave the keys in the car when they go to the bathroom in the middle of the woods, and then not question it when the keys vanish, and the alarm suddenly goes off? Forgiving that, it was somewhere around the point where a tree falls in the woods that I was unable to suspend my disbelief any longer.
Shortly after, the film does a quick 180. The lack of acting chops becomes clear when the tension mounts, and the entire second half of the film falls flat on it’s face. I want to avoid spoilers, but it’s predictable, and just downright stupid.
The DVD itself offers one special feature, and that is a making of featurette. In it, we learn that the director had these two actors drive around aimlessly to get to know each other and form a bond. I get that in the first half of the film, but the second half proves that the director did not find competent actors. The “fear” on their face – or, more accurately, the blank stares – is never believable.
I know it sounds like I’m bashing the film, but it isn’t all bad. The first half of the film is superb; it feels natural, it’s creepy, and it offers some great atmosphere. The second half, however, is a hot mess, filled with clichés and a massive amount of stupidity. The second half hurts the film, but it doesn’t ruin it completely. Unfortunately the ending doesn’t add anything to it either, as it is pretty terrible too.
Chris was raised on horror films, which gave him a deep love for the genre, especially its most quirky and offbeat titles (like A Nightmare on Elm Street 2). This love quickly turned into an obsession for cinema in 1997, when he decided he needed to see every major theatrical release. Video games (JRPGs), reading (anything but fantasy), and reality television (Survivor) are just some of his other passions. He’s been with Cinefessions since 2013, and has been writing reviews all over the internet for the past twelve years.