In Fear (2013)

In Fear (2013)

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They couldn't believe the mileage on their hatchback. So much so, they had to stand back and admire it.
They couldn’t believe the mileage on their hatchback. So much so, they had to stand back and admire it.

Twitter Plot Summary: A new couple head off on a road trip which takes a sinister twist after they get lost on country roads.

Five Point Summary:

1. That hotel remains elusive.
2. Something strange is afoot.
3. So what happened in the pub?!
4. Exactly how much petrol have they… oh, it’s ran out.
5. Now that’s just a bit silly.

We’ve all been there, a road trip that never seems to end with companions who eventually start to grate and annoy. And so we join a couple in the earliest stages of a potential relationship where he has invited her along to a festival in Ireland – but first they must find the hotel. Driving round in circles for hours, tensions mount between them, in particular when strange things start to happen and they realise they may not be alone – on the roads, that is. It would be a bit strange if there was a random haunting in their car or something. Actually, that might have made a bit more sense in hindsight.

The scenery and location is suitably bleak, and for the first half at least it plays on our fears of the unknown – both in terms of the location itself and also that of the uncertainty that surrounds the beginning of every new relationship. The descent into road trip insanity is a gradual one, nerves slowly being frayed and tensions slowly mounting. Their lack of navigational skills aside, this first half is a believable, slightly claustrophobic journey. It’s a shame that it all unravels in the second half, descending into cliche silliness and muddled plotting. Without delving into spoilers, another character is introduced whose motives are uncertain. Are they the reason for the strange goings on? Are they a fellow victim? Are they even there? Well yes, they are – otherwise there would be even less of a point to this script.

Driving in Ireland. It certainly leaves an impression.
Driving in Ireland. It certainly leaves an impression.

The questions soon receive answers, and lead to that aforementioned slightly silly second half. There are a couple of nice sequences to report on from this point forward, but again to describe them would be spoiler territory. Suffice to say, bones are broken, there’s plenty of screaming and also plenty of relationship based analysis to be completed. Would you give up your own life for somebody you’ve only just met? The safe answer would be no, in most situations of course, and in principle it’s something worth exploring in terms of narrative. Again, in terms of maintaining coherence it would have helped if this was explored more, but the descent into confusing/generic horror movie territory does it no favours. You will also begin to question the MPG rating of a standard hatchback. They get a lot further moving on fumes than any vehicle I have ever seen – this alone is remarkable if nothing else. It also makes me want to own that car, the savings on fuel would be astronomical.

There is a really good idea at the script’s core, so it would have been nice to have explored more of the budding (or not) relationship, but this is lost in a script that meanders in a similar way to the Irish country roads which the couple find themselves trapped amongst. Several implausible plot strands abound, and the final film is a little confused and unsure as to what its purpose really is. Ultimately In Fear is much like the car journey it depicts – a bit dull and mostly aimless.

Score: 2.5/5

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