On his way to a music festival, Tom (Iain De Caestecker) surprises Lucy (Alice Englert), a girl he’s just met, with the offer of staying one night at a local B&B. But, on their way to the remote getaway, they become lost in a maze of country lanes. With their every attempt at finding a way out always leading back to the same spot, the couple conclude that some drunken lads that Tom had earlier has an altercation with are playing a cruel joke on them. But when they then come across the battered and bleeding Max (Allen Leech), who claims the gang attacked him; the couple become desperate to find a way back to the main road. But is Max telling the truth and can they really trust him?
‘If a man hurts an innocent person, the evil will fall back upon him and the fool will be destroyed’.
These words are what lie at the dark heart of this tightly written, expertly crafted British indie thriller from director Jeremy Lovering (Sherlock). With the film set over the course of one rainy night on an unmarked country road, with just car headlights for illumination, you quickly find yourself sharing the panic that Tom and Lucy experience – first at becoming lost, then discovering they seemingly can’t escape. Lovering builds on this with a series of frightening set pieces, like Lucy’s clothes shown strewn on the road and a 50ft tree crashing down, but it’s at the 37-minute mark, when the couple’s fears come to reality, that the real fun begins…
In Fear is clearly inspired by the oft-told urban legend about the lover’s lane couple encountering a killer and is reminiscent of classic EC Comics horror stories, but Lovering also gives his terror tale real depth. Using the claustrophobic confines of Tom’s car, the director explores some of our darkest fears – from being frightened of the dark to being scared of trusting a new partner. And hiding among the shadowy hedgerows is the feeling that some kind of supernatural force is at work; that Tom and Lucy could well be stuck in some kind of purgatory, and that their tormentor is either a manifestation of their fears or an angel of death. I won’t spoil that surprise, but I can tell you In Fear has one seriously twisted sting in its tail (just don’t watch the opening credits too closely, as it gives it away).
The StudioCanal UK Blu-ray and DVD release includes audio commentary with director Jeremy Lovering and actors Alice Englert, Iain De Caestecker and Allen Leech; behind-the-scenes documentary (53mins), gallery, music tracks by Roly Porter (20mins); and trailer.
In Fear is released on Blu-ray and DVD on 10 March from StudioCanal