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Film Review: 'In Fear'

Kathy Zerbib |
March 5, 2014 | 12:18 a.m. PST

Film Editor

Lucy, played by Alice Englert, contemplates her next move (Anchor Bay).
Lucy, played by Alice Englert, contemplates her next move (Anchor Bay).
If anyone refers to “In Fear” as an intense psychological thriller and tells you to go watch it in theaters, he or she does not have your best interests at heart. 

No, if someone advises you to sit through a movie as painstakingly irritating as “In Fear,” this person is clearly trying to trick some other unfortunate soul into also sitting through 85 minutes of corny, lackluster material.

You’ve been warned. Now, let’s start from the beginning. 

“In Fear” tells the story of a young couple who are driving in the countryside to a remote hotel. Unfortunately, they get lost on the way (As in, an unknown force has led them in circles) and end up driving in circles for hours. They are unable to find the hotel and night quickly falls on them. That’s when the “terror” begins.

Tom and Lucy - played by Iain de Caestecker and Alice Englert, respectively - start turning on each other. When Tom leaves the car - Surprise, surprise! - something scares Lucy. Anytime something goes thump, really, the actors’ overreaction turns out to be a lot scarier than whatever is stalking them in the night. 

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The main problem with this movie is how blatantly predictable it is. We see the plot twists coming from half a mile down the road, literally, and this completely takes away from the “intense psychological thriller” aspect of the movie. By the end of the movie, we’re already well aware who’s responsible for terrorizing the young couple and we’re not impressed.

Yes, there are a few jumpy moments. In about eight instances throughout the 85 minutes of “In Fear,” we are legitimately scared. 

But those five-second scenes are obviously overshadowed by the rest of the movie. We’re bored by how staged the actors’ cues are, how cliche the dialogue is and how generally unrealistic the situation turns out to be.

For instance, who leaves a car running with the lights on and keys conveniently in the ignition? Then, who does it over and over again? Yes, you’re in a remote area. But if you know someone’s after you, why are you making it extra easy for them to target you? 

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Poor Tom and Lucy. They didn’t ask to be tormented in the night. They certainly didn’t ask to be the main characters of an unfortunately tragic film. Still, we can’t even feel sorry for them… Who decides to have a full-on make out session moments after trying to flee from an unknown pyscho?

If you have to watch “In Fear,” spend the 85 minutes counting how many times Tom and Lucy could have saved themselves from a sticky situation. Tom, lock the car door. Lucy, don’t split up from Tom. Tom, don’t go on a bathroom break near a brush. Lucy, don’t leave the car for no reason. It just goes on and on.

Tom and Lucy make rookie mistakes and “In Fear” is a rookie of a thriller movie.

“In Fear” will be out for limited release on Friday, Mar. 7. Watch the trailer below.

Reach Film Editor Kathy Zerbib here. Follow her on Twitter here.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

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