In Fear Blu-ray Review
Film is a wonderful medium of expression. I mean, I suppose I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t feel that way but I am still surprised how moved I can be, or scared, or happy, because of something I see in a film. What I think is most surprising to me is how entertained I can be by a major event film (a la THE AVENGERS) while at the same time really enjoying a film like IN FEAR, a character-driven thriller featuring only 3 actors, a terrifying maze winding backroads, and almost no script (the actors mostly improvised based on the direction they were given). I’ve always been a fan of independent film so I’ll start off with a caveat; if you like explosions and gore with a side of box-office-draw cameos, IN FEAR isn’t going to work for you. But, if you can put those things aside for a moment you’ll find yourself lost with the young couple on the backroads of Ireland in IN FEAR… at least until the film’s climax.
IN FEAR is the story of a two-week old couple, Tom and Lucy, on the road to a music festival. The film begins with their meet-up at a pub on the road, where Tom gets into an altercation with the locals. As they leave, Tom (Iain De Caestecker of MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. and FILTH) tells Lucy (Alice Englert from BEAUTIFUL CREATURES) he has made reservations for the two of them at an out-of-the-way inn for that evening. Their relationship is believably young as Lucy reluctantly accepts Tom’s offer but soon things just turn weird. A car leads them out into the wilderness and points them toward a seemingly abandoned property.
As Tom and Lucy continue their journey they appear to be driving in circles and they slowly realize they have no idea how to get out of the labyrinth. The signs pointing toward the hotel seem to be intentionally misleading them, backtracking and keeping them disoriented, but other problems are far more concerning. Their GPS doesn’t work, they don’t have cell phone signals, and the feeling that someone is toying with them, or possibly stalking them, as they try to escape. Is Tom behind this? Or is something more sinister happening? The appearance of another possible victim of the maze, Max, only brings more questions as we continue on this journey with our poor heroes.
Speaking of our heroes, both Iain De Caestecker and Alice Englert do a very nice job in this film. Englert specifically provides some of the nicest, subtle moments of both young love and horror that capture with a look, a twitch of the lip, more than many actors who are far better known. Caestecker’s performance is a little bit more stiff but still deserves credit. And Allen Leech, who enters the film a little over halfway through, is both intense and measured in his portrayal of Max.
With the performances and the story the movie seems like a great pick… Sadly, the journey is far more interesting than the film’s conclusion, which I won’t spoil save to say I found it entirely unsatisfying. IN FEAR works a lot like some older thrillers like JAWS; filmmaker Jeremy Lovering knows that the monsters we create inside our minds are usually much more terrifying than anything they can put on the screen. IN FEAR is a slow burn that eventually makes you literally grip your seat with anticipation of the next strange occurrence. It works beautifully for the first two and a half acts of IN FEAR but comes to a halt when the filmmakers try to wrap everything up. This is a solid rental but only a purchase for a few very hardcore fans.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2.35:1) IN FEAR is grainy and the presentation isn’t all that great on Blu-ray though I think that’s probably what they were going for.
Audio: (English Dolby TrueHD 5.1) The audio for IN FEAR is uneven but the mix is pretty good and can be very immersive.
IN FEAR: Behind the Scenes (12:50) A pretty standard look behind the camera, this one is pretty interesting for all the little tidbits about the making of the film (i.e. no script, the actors being put in new situations and tested without warning). Introspective features like this give a very cool look into independent filmmaking. Well worth the watch.