IN FEAR **** UK 2013 85 mins
Two weeks into dating, likeable young couple Iain De Caestecker and Alice Englert get lost in the remote countryside. Jeremy Lovering makes an impressive feature debut with a movie that realises the potential of a scenario largely involving just two people confined to a single vehicle. Set against a bleakly evoked, widescreen autumnal backdrop, IN FEAR sustains a marvellous sense of menace from the start, with truly creepy bits of business (the heroine’s hair appears to be pulled even though no one is around), well-orchestrated false frights (scarecrow!) and one sequence of genuine alarm involving a figure in a white mask appearing in the headlights behind our hero as he takes a piss. There’s a BLAIR WITCH PROJECT sense of relatable fear to the movie’s employment of tiny country roads that just lead you in an endless circle: anyone who has been lost late at night in the middle of Buttfuck, Nowhere will be able to relate. Perhaps inevitably, it does lose some of its intensity once the source of the threat is finally unveiled, though said threat turns out to be a well-played, grinning rural sociopath (Allen Leech) with a somewhat unusual means of tormenting his victims. The movie as a whole does not shame the earlier films it echoes (THE HITCHER, WOLF CREEK) and boasts above-average performances from its three-handed cast.
Review by Steven West