In Fear (2013)

Rating: D+

Dir: Jeremy Lovering
Star: Iain De Caestecker, Alice Englert, Allen Leech

New couple Tom (De Caestecker) and Lucy (Englert) are on their way to a rural music festival in Ireland. As a treat, Tom has booked a night’s stay at a remote hotel, and even an unpleasant (if vague) encounter with some locals in a pub can’t dampen the mood. That is, at least until the road to the hotel becomes increasingly maze-like, the signs apparently taking the couple along ever more complex circles in a near-deserted forest. With darkness falling, and fuel running out, tempers begin to fray as concern rises, and Lucy is convinced someone is stalking them.

Speeding away from one such encounter, they brush against a man, injuring him. Max (Leech) says it’s the people from the pub who are responsible for everything, who are also after him. Though it becomes increasingly a question whether Max is part of the solution, or part of the problem. I guess it’s going for a claustrophobic, Hitcher-like feel, with the screws gradually being tightened on the two leads until they crack at the seams. Except, there’s just about nothing here which is memorable. I only watched this a couple of days ago, and had to look up most of the plot details and the characters’ names. I don’t remember their faces at all. I do remember the irritating bickering between the two, alternating with flirty banter. which didn’t exactly endear them to me. If they don’t want to be with each other, why should the audience?

Lovering does not badly at creating the looming sense of threat, and the setting delivers its fair share of creepiness, only to squander increasingly any goodwill, the more the film goes on, before reaching a particularly unimpressive and largely implausible resolution. While providing the viewer with another good reason to avoid rural holidays, if you really need a horror movie to tell you why that’s a bad idea, you’re probably already lying dead in a ditch somewhere.