A selection of great British fears – narrow country roads at night, passive-aggression from strangers, and the spilling of a man’s pint – form the basis of this impressive horror filled with notable frights.
Australian Lucy (Englert) and Scot Tom (De Caestecker) are a young couple of only two weeks driving through Ireland to a music festival, trying to find a hotel the latter’s booked them into for the night. Conflicting signs and maps lead them into a labyrinthine network of roads that see confusion and irritation give way to panic and fear as a pitch-black night descends upon the little-lit country route. Thanks to an earlier unseen tiff with locals in a pub, the pair suspects they’re being deliberately led down a road to nowhere, especially as masked figures seem to manifest and the woodland environment seems manipulated to harm them.
In Fear thrives on scarcity of light and the primal feel that darkness brings to the secluded, muddied nature surrounding the film’s bickering protagonists. A lost-in-the-woods horror predominantly set within a car’s claustrophobic confines, this is certainly one of the better films of late to play with fear of the dark. It is a shame then that the last 20 minutes serve to leave things on a sour note. Much of In Fear’s shooting apparently relied on improvisational elements, and this makes itself apparent in a negative way with third act reveals and detours that feel half-baked and rote. It would have been better to keep the bogeyman in the shadows, or at least give him a second draft.