Monday, March 17, 2014

IN FEAR (Review)

IN FEAR (2013)

review by AARON ALLEN

Directed by Jeremy Lovering

Starring Iain De Caestecker, Alice Englert, Allen Leech

For those of us who live in the city, surrounded by the ever-present glow from street lights, 24 hour convenience stores, and late-night diners, it's easy to forget the paralyzing fear that the dark can strike in our hearts. 

James Lovering's IN FEAR, while a profoundly flawed and disappointing feature, at least manages to exploit our communal fear of the dark to downright chilling effect.

Driving Ms. Crazy
Marking their "two-week anniversary," young lovers Lucy (Alice Englert) and Tom (Iain De Caestecker) decide to take a road trip out to an Irish music festival, with a stop or two along the way at a few local pubs. On the trip, Tom surprises Lucy with reservations at a quaint, remote hotel, but when the two young lovers strike out in search of the inn, they find themselves lost in a max of rural back roads where -- surprise -- there's not a cellphone or WiFi connection to be found. With night quickly approaching, gas running out, and tempers flaring, Lucy and Tom begin to realize they are being manipulated and tormented by unseen assailants lurking in the dark.

Irish Eyes are Screaming
The first two-thirds of  IN FEAR are a near masterwork of suspense, tension, and dread. Expertly juxtaposing the tense and uncertain relationship dynamic between Lucy and Tom with the bleakly dark and spine-chilling forests in which they find themselves lost and isolated, director James Lovering has the makings of a potentially terrifying film on his hands. Unfortunately, as soon as Lucy and Tom start to drive in circles and run out of gas, so does the story. After a series of increasingly boneheaded decisions and improbable encounters in the third act, IN FEAR culminates in several derivative and baffling encounters with its mysterious wannabe SAW villain that suck all the dread and mystery out of the film's attempts to shock and curdle the blood. In the end, like Lucy and Tom's car, the story ends up stalled, spinning its wheels, and completely lost in a shady maze of loose ends, irritating coincidences, and drawn-out cat and mouse games that are more hairball-inducing than hair-raising.

In Fear certainly starts with the potential to be a great chiller but ultimately lacks the direction and narrative vision needed to make its mark.

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