After a year of disappointing horror films, finally a new release breathes some life into the genre. In Fear is a low-budget British offering which could teach a thing or two to James Wan, who would probably have called it The Fearing.
Essentially a hybrid of The Blair Witch Project and The Hitcher, the story follows a young couple (Iain De Caestecker and Alice Englert) on their way to a music festival in Ireland, who get lost in the woods without phone or satnav signal – a necessary feature of all modern horror films.
Like Gravity this is basically a two-hander, as the characters’ relationship, patience and nerves are stretched to breaking point. Their fear is tangible as in The Blair Witch Project, and both films were made using the technique of withholding plot developments from the actors and letting them improvise – or just flail around in genuine terror.
But unlike The Blair Witch Project, this is mercifully not a found footage film. In fact, David Katznelson’s cinematography looks great and Jeremy Lovering’s direction is tense and gloomy. Crucially, there are some effective scares which are much more a result of the unsettling atmosphere than loud noises – the sound design too is much more intricate than in most horror fare.
Some of the plot twists can be seen coming from across the border and the plot loses its way towards the end, which is ironic. Nevertheless In Fear is an effectively tense horror film which spends 85 minutes getting right inside your head, making your brain repeatedly scream “no don’t do that!” – which makes a pleasant change from its usual screams.