Monday, 17 March 2014

In Fear DVD Review

Jeremy Lovering knows his horror. It is clear straight away from the instant atmosphere and tone that In Fear achieves. Labelled as “home-invasion in a car” is probably the more accurate description you can give the film. Conceptually, In Fear is really simple and sounds like something more suited for a short film of about 30 minutes maximum but Lovering has successfully extended it to feature length and it rarely strains. Setting up the duo with a voice-over phonecall where Tom (Iain De Caestecker) asks out Lucy (Alice Englert), it tells us that they only met two weeks ago and this will really be their first date, putting a lot of pressure on the early moments of the honeymoon phase that usually is the blissful simple part. That’s where the characters get a lot of the interest.
Meeting someone two weeks prior means there’s little obligation to one another, giving plenty of meat for the actors to get into the chemistry of a strained early relationship. Iain De Caestecker and Alice Englert explore the characters, sparks and breakdowns of driving through the maze of a countryside, getting more and more lost while searching for the hotel. Night closes in, getting darker and darker, tensions getting higher, amplifying the eerie atmosphere of being surrounded in a single lane maze. This is aided by Lovering’s omission when handing out the script and story beats to his lead actors, meaning their fear and their reactions are real.
Much of its looks is different from usual horror films with more clean cinematography and clever use of focus. Its different take on cinematography allows it to look visually impressive most of the time yet still pay homage to other horrors. One problem with the cinematography – or perhaps the editing with their placement – is the use of close-ups on twitchy eyes; some are well-placed which really add to the paranoid atmosphere early on but others feel uncomfortable and perhaps editing filler to extend the scene. Lovering has also paid attention to how important sound design is by adding audible windscreen wipers and other clever additions that turn the ordinary into the uneasy.
The material has been taken as far as possible by a director who has well-crafted a creepy, paranoid heavy Irish horror – filmed in Cornwall. Late at night, many have had the fear of getting lost in the countryside where there is no signal, no signs and no life… until you glimpse something that shouldn’t be there. In Fear is like a film school class in atmosphere as well as creating real characters, especially if you’re insistent on making horrible characters simply to kill them off. Real people who let their masks slip are much more interesting than the bland monotony that get slaughtered time and time again in slasher fare. In Fear should be a welcome addition to any horror collection. A first-time feature director has used unusual methods to get really good results. Its simplicity possibly draws on one too familiarity but overall it’s a crafted, well written, finely acted feature that doesn’t skimp on the atmosphere and scares.
★★½

Extras: Interesting audio commentary with the director Jeremy Lovering as well as the actors, a behind the scenes documentary, stills gallery, music from In Fear and the trailer. A pretty standard fare but more interesting than most.
Out Monday the 10th of March on Blu-ray and DVD. The Blu-ray has a running time of 85 minutes while the DVD has three minutes less.