IN FEAR: A FILM FIRST, THEN A HORROR FILM
As a fan of horror movies, I have seen a lot of terrible stuff. Titles that sounded good or covers of DVDs that seemed interesting have helped me waste lots of eyeball time on mediocre, sometimes terrible material. Every once in awhile, though, it pays off…
IN FEAR, a British film from 2013, is something I took a chance with on Netflix, and am really happy I did, as it is a taut thriller with production values rivaling films with ten times the budget. The writer/director, Jeremy Lovering, and the cinematographer, David Katznelson, work together to create a potent visual style that really elevates their film.
Two people who have just recently met (at a rave) and fallen for each other, Lucy (Alice Englert) and Tom (Iain De Caestecker), decide to go on their first weekend trip together. Tom has found a nice sounding remote hotel in the woods that they will crash at, before heading to a music festival. Cue bad stuff happening…
Right off the bat, this film surprised me with its inventive visuals. It begins cold, right in the middle of the couple fleeing a creepy backwoods pub, which is told in a fragmented style that hangs together very nicely. In fact the opening few minutes gives an entire history of Lucy and Tom as a pair, all done in with compressed imagery. Very impressive filmmaking, especially when you’ve seen a ton of ‘backwoods horror’ films that rely just on gore and don’t think about the filmmaking part.
The story itself couldn’t be any simpler: take these two people who barely know each other, put them in a car together at night, and have them drive into a densely wooded maze of roads, where it appears evil locals (or something supernatural) are playing tricks, getting them lost and then terrorizing them.
Since they don’t have much history with each other, the car very quickly becomes claustrophobic, with both characters retreating into their own growing fear. Things are complicated when they pick up an injured man from the side of the road, Max (Allen Leech), who claims to have been beaten by locals and left for dead.
All throughout, the impressive visual storytelling vibe shines through. There are moments without dialog, where several things happen—in the dark—and we can follow hem all and be on the edge of our seats. I did not figure out where this thing was going and was pleasantly surprised when it got there. Maybe there are a few plot hiccups here and there, but the imagery and dedication of the cast and crew really sold me.
Also, the final image is SUPERB!
This is not the kind of film that will change your life, but it is really good and an example of why cinematic language is so powerful when used correctly. I wish more horror filmmakers would take that to heart, because it only makes things more intense.
MY RATING: THRILLING, CHILLING, SHOULDA MADE A KILLING