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on 14 January 2017
Lucy (Alice Englert) and Tom (Iain De Caestecker) have recently just met, and when Tom invites her to a music festival in Ireland, they travel together in his car. When Tom cheekily suggests they spend their first night together in a hotel, Lucy accepts. But as they head off for romance, things begin to go wrong.

There are many merits to Lovering’s film, the best is Jeremy Lovering’s tense script, which will leave your legs aching the next day, and your nails closely bitten. He builds tension in the smallest and subtlest ways, and after thirty minutes of the film you realise that nothing has actually happened, and that the two characters are doing nothing other than frightening themselves. This is superb writing and far and away better than those ‘quiet, quiet, bang’ films that have no substance. Also, he’s formed two excellent characters, completely rounded, with motivations and needs. We believe in them and worry about them. The highlight of the script is how pared down it is; the film is eight-five minutes long, set mainly in a car, with only three characters and the simplest of story goals. What a masterpiece of writing.

This film can have a number of comparisons within its horror genre, but an odd film came to mind: Steven Knight’s amazing Locke (2013), although not in the same genre as In Fear, has that setting in a car and the tight dialogue that can only be said within the confines of a vehicle. We could also think of James Wan’s exceptional Saw (2004), which is short, with a small number of characters, and mainly set in one location.

There’s a failure with this film, and that is a pretty silly ending. To me it felt like a studio decided ending. An ending written to tempt the teenage cinemagoers. But if you go into the film knowing this, you will be able to enjoy the first two acts and not feel robbed at that final hurdle.

I enjoyed In Fear, and can forgive it for the clichéd ending. Lovering can really write and direct. It’s his first feature film, and shows that he has more than enough talent to transition from television work to film, and I look forward to seeing what he does next.
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A few years' ago, driving through France in the middle of the night, I followed a misleading "déviation" sign from a main road and ended up getting somewhat lost in a labyrinth of narrow roads in a remote rural area. This movie effectively brought those feelings of anxiety and frustration right back to me!
The creepy atmosphere grows slowly but inexorably, as our hapless couple become increasingly convinced that a malicious force is messing with them. The whole dynamic then changes suddenly with the introduction of a third character, but is he just an unfortunate stranger willing to help, or something far more sinister?
Well you'll have to watch In Fear to find out.
Like some other reviewers, I wasn't overly impressed with the slightly incongruous and unsatisfying ending and any viewers expecting gore and conventional horror themes may come away disappointed. Overall though, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie's deliciously unsettling atmosphere and I look forward to more movie output from this obviously talented director.
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on 14 March 2014
Tom (Iain De Caestecker ) is taking his not yet girlfriend Lucy (Alice Englert) to an Irish festival. They stop at a pub where an undisclosed incident happens in the pub, that we may or may not know what really happened. Tom convinces Lucy they should stop at the remote Kilairney House Hotel. While looking for the hotel, they get lost and attacked by a local.

Nearly the entire movie is filmed in a car. The fact that they were lost going around in circles unable to try a different route seemed a bit far fetched. The whole premise had me scratching my head. I still haven't figured out what happened so terrible in the pub to warrant the harassment. And the ending was just messed up.

This was terrible by horror standards and was too inane to be a decent thriller. Redbox took me for another one.

Parental Guide: F-bombs. No sex or nudity.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 30 October 2015
To be honest, I wasn't at all surprised to find that after viewing Jeremy Lovering's "In Fear" that the hatred for it on internet sites was large. It's that type of film, a film existing in the horror field of things that can cause mass debate, disappointments for those after a jolting or gory shocker, and yet there's also pleasures that some have found in it. If you have seen it and hate it then there's no need to read on, I got nothing for you, this is purely a review by someone who loved it and hopes that anyone who hasn't seen it may just give it a chance.

A young couple very early in their courting relationship are driving across rural Ireland to a music festival. After a fraught stop at a local public house, they continue on the journey only to get lost. As night draws in and they appear to go around in circles, they start to get menaced by person or persons unknown and unseen...

As anyone who has been in the situation will attest, getting lost in an unfamiliar countryside is no fun, especially when the night falls. "In Fear" pitches two young characters (played superbly by Iain De Caestecker & Alice Englert who are reacting naturally) into one such scenario. This is a couple who are only two weeks into their relationship, they don't really know each other do they? So when things start to get tense and scary they are naturally ill at ease with each other's company, they have no idea how to react to what is happening to them - which is continuously ambiguous.

Two people in a car in the countryside shouldn't be scary, but it is because things get tense. Things start to happen to them, simple things that suggest an outside force is at work, all while the once pretty scenery has become a menacing backdrop, with the sound work prodding away at our fretful protagonists. Then a third party enters the fray and things get even more ambiguous, but such is the stripped down nature of the pic the nail-biting tension goes up another notch.

This is not new horror cinema, in fact it's a little contrived in places, but all the fears on show here are easy to relate to. Both as regards the scary situation and as an early date experience! It's stylishly filmed by Lovering and his cinematographer David Katznelson, with tight close-ups and nifty use of the dark spaces on the country roads turning the tension screws. All of which just leaves the ending, an ending which will either infuriate or baffle you, or conversely have you nodding in admiration at the bare faced cheek of it. 9/10
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on 27 July 2014
I'm surprised by the number of negative reviews of this film - I thought it was rather good. The idea of driving round in circles, quite lost, and only guided by misleading signposts (anyone who has driven through Stoke on Trent will know the feeling), as the evening draws in - and to keep coming back to the same place - was very nicely done, and the reaction of the couple went from light-hearted banter, through irritated mystification to panicked terror in a most convincing way. I like the fact that you never quite knew what was going to happen next; there was all kinds of possibilities - what happened at the pub ?, what was the significance of the cabin and the "keep out" sign, the string of dead rodents across the road ? In the end it all went a bit Wolf Creek, and the final scene was a complete cop-out, but this didn't spoil a good well-paced decent length thriller. And all done with a cast of precisely three; good, naturalistic performances from De Caestecker and Englert, who behaved like anyone would in a similar situation - no heroics, just paralysed terror.
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on 20 April 2015

All of the tools were in the box and in great British fashion every tool is worthless. And what a shame because the movie after half an hour builds up the tension so well you can't keep your eyes off of it. Plot is about a couple who are on a way to a festival, but the night before the guy has a special suprise for his new girlfriend a nights stay in a hotel. But getting there proves rather difficult. Through deserted roads they go, then see a sign for the hotel but every road they take leads them back to the same beginning.

The above is later explained as someone moving road signs- what an utter cop out. And the reason people are screwing with the couple is because the guy seemingly had a minor run in at the local pub before they headed off to the hotel.....

It ends up being a lot like another dreadful movie of recent times, Chain Letters in where the makers of the movie have a cool idea that realistically looks good on screen for 10 minutes but instead they drag it out for 90 and then have no ending. And this is what we get with In Fear- no ending. Yes you the viewer are cheated. Now had the movie been written well and the story had sucked us in we can have open endings, but you get nothing of that here. The acting isn't poor but also it isn't anything memorable either. The director shows us flashes of what they have learned in school but holds back too. Enough of poorly written British horror movies that try to look hip- they aren't and this is a wholly forgetable mess that could have been very good in different hands. To summarize you leave the movie having felt like being cheated.
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on 14 December 2014
A film that ably demonstrates that true discomfiture in the viewer is most effectively caused by tapping into their primal paranoia rather than throwing CGI gore at them.
A young couple, just dating two weeks (and so are therefore at that stage where they both kinda like each other, but still don't really know each other) are driving to a music festival in rural Ireland, where they intend to meet up with their respective groups of friends and enjoy the weekend en mass, when he reveals he's booked them into one of Ireland's luxury house hotels for a night. On the way there they have an encounter with some locals in a pub (off screen, so you don't know exactly what happened) before setting out to find their way there...
As every road, and every sign, seems to lead them repeatedly back to the same fork in the road - and daylight is fading - the masks we all wear when we're still getting to know someone begin to slip as flirty fondness gives way to anxiety and mutual suspicion.
Yes, it's small budget - but slickly done. And yes, 90% of the time is spent in the car - but this is not an FX 'horror' movie about slashing up cheerleaders; so if that is your idea of 'scary' then this film isn't for you - but if you have ever been lost in the wilds of Ireland, in a car, at night, in the rain, with a boyfriend you have only just realised you don't know (and in my case with his creepy mate too) then this film is maybe for you. Or if you like slow burners, with two subtly played protagonists and a realistic script, then this might be for you too. And for all the reviewers here who have said the set up here is a bit ridiculous - trust me, it's not. It is absolutely possible to get this kind of lost here and for it to be that frightening. As for where the film goes I don't understand the confusion about 'why' - why not?
For me the whole thing seemed to play out like an urban myth (or 'legend' for our American cousins). It provides that same sensation of building unease with the horrifying warped twist.
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on 19 May 2015
Lovering has made a tense little chiller on a shoestring budget and that's to be applauded. The relatively unknown cast perform very well and the direction and cinematography are, for the most part, up to the job. It's not entirely successful however. The characters are not fleshed out enough for us to truly sympathise with them and the plot is too scant to give weight to the film. Thus, despite the ratcheting tension, the movie ultimately falls a little flat. But this is a fairly effective exercise in mounting menace and is a promising debut.
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on 29 September 2014
If you've grown up in the country you will remember that as a child the hedgerows, bridges and hollows could take on an eerie quality as twilight set in. And even though they are hardly as scary as an urban alleyway, country lanes on a summer evening can have something of a tunnel like claustrophobia. This film attempts to transfer this sense of the uncanny to the screen.

It is successful to some extent. Two young people, Tom and Lucy, are looking for an hotel in rural Ireland. The build up is reasonable, even if it is a little sub-Werewolf in London in terms of the 'local pub for local people' at the start. The driving around in a Vauxhall Omega looking for the hotel before it gets dark is well handled too.

Once darkness descends, apprehension and disorientation descend into outright fear as very strange things start to happen. Figures emerge from the darkness, only to disappear silently into the gloom. Again, this is well handled and despite having less than by-the-second shocks, the pacing is pretty good.

The film is undermined by a sense of the ridiculous, and also a sense that the 'terror' that is out there could be somewhat neutralised by either Tom or Lucy getting hold of 'it' and giving it a good hiding. Alas, neither is up to the job. The script, such as it is, is fair, although one or two lines - 'violence has a mother and a brother' - are rather lumpy.

Despite these misgivings, this is a generally intelligent film and though they might not win any Oscars, the actors ply their trade with conviction. On that theme, the 'making of' extra is quite interesting. A diverting and not un-original little film.
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on 22 January 2016
This is an excellent example of how a good horror film can create real tension and anxiety in the viewer which will stay with them. There is no gore and precious little plot, but it really does deliver as a really good, two-handed horror film based around simple fears that we all have experienced from time to time.
It clearly won't appeal to gore-hounds, but for those wanting a genuine spooky and insidious little film you can't do much better than this.
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