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Review: 'In Fear' takes a terrifying trip to the countryside

Unsettling close-ups and a well-paced series of scares drive Jeremy Lovering's exceptional horror flick 'In Fear.'

March 06, 2014|By Inkoo Kang
  • A scene from 'In Fear."
A scene from 'In Fear."

Urbanites have plenty of reasons to fear country folk, at least in the movies. Getting away for the weekend so often turn into a showdown with masked murderers that heading out to the country seems like a game of Russian roulette.

In writer-director Jeremy Lovering's exceptional British thriller "In Fear," the needy, nebbish Tom (Iain De Caestecker) rolls the dice by booking a room at a remote hotel for himself and his maybe-kinda girlfriend, Lucy (Alice Englert), to celebrate their two-week anniversary. Hours later, they're no closer to their destination: They have been tricked into a giant maze that makes them easy prey.

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Tom and Lucy drive for most of the movie, but Lovering keeps "In Fear" visually absorbing through unsettling close-ups and a well-paced series of scares. Night falls quickly, which means opacity and innuendo do most of the fright work. (Despite the film's R rating, there's very little blood.)

Though Lucy's character is basically the stock scared girl, Tom is an engaging mystery. His need to be the most logical guy in the room — or the more logical person in the car — and he flips from charmingly sardonic one moment to punch-worthy patronizing the next. When his true self emerges, the stakes rise to a game of masculine one-upmanship that he can't help playing, a character development that elevates this horror flick to a Greek tragedy.

"In Fear." MPAA rating: R for violence and terror, and for language. Running time: 1 hour, 25 minutes. At Los Feliz 3, Los Angeles.


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