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With: Iain De Caestecker, Alice Englert, Allen Leech
Written by: Jeremy Lovering (story), Jon Croker (story consultant)
Directed by: Jeremy Lovering
MPAA Rating: R for some disturbing violent content and terror, and for language
Running Time: 85
Date: 03/07/2014

In Fear (2014)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Horror movies about young people on their way to a party or a concert, getting lost in the woods, and being terrorized, are not uncommon. But Jeremy Lovering's In Fear strips the genre to its essentials. It begins with a boy, a girl, and a car. Not long after meeting Lucy (Alice Englert) in a bar, Tom (Iain De Caestecker) invites her to a music festival, with a surprise stopover at a hotel for a special night. The hotel is remote and hard to find, so a truck appears to lead the couple there. Unfortunately, they quickly get lost. There are signs, but they seem to lead in a circle, or a "maze," as Lucy realizes at one point.

As the sky grows dark and the gas tank runs low, the couple begin seeing strange things. White-faced figures disappear in the treeline, and Lucy's clothes suddenly appear spread out on the road. A man with a bleeding forehead, Max (Allen Leech), turns up and urges them to get out of there, now. If only they could find the way.

The film makes all the right moves at first, rooting the horrors in things that may or may not be there, things that might easily be explained. But it trips up by giving the evil forces too much power. They are able to rig traps and plot schemes far too quickly. Perhaps the filmmaker wants us to wonder whether these forces are supernatural in nature, but by bending logic, he leaves little doubt. It also comes with an abrupt and baffling ending. I'm all for ambiguity, but this ending didn't quite make sense, and it only furthers that sense of the supernatural.

Yet the movie is extremely well-made, with vivid, striking use of location and space, with sturdy performances and dialogue. Many horror fans will find this an above-average lost-in-the-woods entry, even if it could have been better.

Anchor Bay gave this a brief theatrical run in March of 2014, followed by an immediate DVD and Blu-ray release. The only extra is a 12-minute behind-the-scenes featurette.

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