Directed by: Jeremy Lovering.
Starring: Iain De Caestecker (Tom), Alice Englert (Lucy), Allen Leech (Max).
You do not need a lot of money to make a good horror film. It is one of the few genres that doesn’t need very good production values, or even very good acting, to be effective. A simple premise, well executed can scare the crap out of an audience – even with the elements we usually deem essential to a movie are lacking. The Blair Witch Project is a perfect example of this – where the filmmakers sent three young actors out into the woods with cameras, and only a vague idea what was going to happen, and filmed the results. The British horror film In Fear basically usually the same premise. A young couple, very early in their relationship (so early, it may not be a relationship at all at this point). They are heading to some sort of music festival out in the middle of nowhere – and Tom (Iain De Caestecker) has a surprise for his new, sort of girlfriend Lucy (Alice Englert) – a night at a rustic hotel, which after some hemming and hawing, she agrees to go to. The couple hit the road, end up in the middle of nowhere, following signs that seem to do nothing except send them in circles. The two actors didn’t know what would happen next – and director Jeremy Lovering starts adding in some scares – things glimpsed out the window, strange noises, etc. Night falls, they still have no idea where they are, or what they are doing. Then the movie introduces a third character (played by Allen Leech).
There are ways a movie like this can work – The Blair Witch Project showed just that. The acting here is actually pretty good – especially by the talented Englert (seen in movies such as Ginger and Rosa and Beautiful Creatures). The problem is that the scares here are all too obvious and never really ramps up into truly terrifying levels. The movie quite simply goes round and round in circles from the first half, having the same type of scenes one after another. The introduction of the third character in the last half certainly livens things up a bit – although the two main characters take a ridiculously long period of time to come to the same conclusion that every audience member figures out in about a minute.
The movie is a good first effort for Lovering – he directs well, even though for the vast majority of the film, he is stuck inside one car. He gets decent performances out of the trio of actors he has hired as well. In fact, I think that had he made In Fear into a short, it may well could have worked. The problem is that even at 85 minutes, In Fear repeats itself too often, takes too long to get where it’s going – and even that isn’t all that interesting anyway. I may keep my eye out of Lovering in the future –but while his first film shows some promise, it doesn’t deliver on it.