Exactly who is terrorising this couple on the road? RICHARD PHILLIPS-JONES looks at In Fear.
TITLE: In Fear
RELEASED: 15th November 2013
STARRING: Ian De Caestecker (Tom), Alice Englert (Lucy), Allen Leech (Max)
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Jeremy Lovering
On their way to a night at an out-of-the-way hotel, a recently acquainted couple find that their route isn’t as simple a their directions might make it seem, and they appear to be lost. To make matters worse, an unknown and seemingly motiveless tormentor is toying with them…
There is a sub-genre of the horror cinema which isn’t particularly celebrated, but which I have a certain fondness for. It’s hard to think of a catchy name for it, but for want of a better moniker I’ll call it the “Going-Round-In-Circles” film. It tends to involve the central protagonist(s) on a journey of some kind, finding themsemlves unable to reach their ultimate destination because, no matter which direction they travel in, they keep finding themselves back at an earlier point in their journey, a scenario which most of us will have probably come across in a nightmare at some point (or when negotiating the Salisbury ring road).
I first encountered this particular horror strand in a sequence from the 1978 chiller-thriller The Legacy, but more recent examples range from 2003’s Dead End to Christopher Smith’s engaging Triangle in 2009. Presenting another take on this sub-genre comes the theatrical debut of director Jeremy Lovering, following a career in both drama and documentaries for television, and he demonstrates a considerable flair in generating a tense atmosphere, getting effective performances from his leads and generally keeping the action moving at a tight pace.
Things do lose their way a tad in the final third, and the ending perhaps leaves just that bit too much ambiguity and unexplained detail – maybe there’s more of this story to tell? But overall, In Fear is stylish, well executed and worthy of your attention, and it’ll certainly give you something to think about the next time you book a hotel room online.

Richard Phillips-Jones
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