Jeremy Lovering takes psychological terror on the road with his first directorial effort In Fear, a fast paced thriller with genuine scares. It’s a very well crafted, tight thriller that plays on the fear of the things that lurk in the darkness. In Fear centers on a young couple’s fight to make it through the night after they have been trapped in a maze of country roads with only their vehicle for protection. Soon they become terrorized by an unseen tormentor hell-bent on exploiting their worst fears.
Psychological horror films—if done right—can be some of the strongest the genre has to offer because they are all about building tension, and Lovering absolutely nailed it with his feature debut. And the fact that it takes place in real-time and is shot almost entirely on the inside of a car is quite an impressive feat for the first-time director.
In Fear is my kind of horror flick. It’s simple, gets straight to the point and once it starts it never lets up until that last heart-stopping frame. The set up for the film may be too simple for some, but if you’re looking for a fast paced thriller to give you the creeps than you will probably walk away from this one satisfied. It starts with a young couple looking for a their hotel, but along the way they get lost in a seemingly never ending maze of roads with the night soon approaching. There are signs set up on the side of the road that point towards the direction of their hotel, the only problem is that the signs are just taking them in circles. From this point on the film starts to create an eerie tension that quickly finds a nice cozy place under your skin.
Once the darkness settles in and the car is driving aimlessly through winding country roads with the gas gauge getting closer and closer to empty is where the fear really begins. What’s fantastic about Lovering’s debut is that he takes the very popular home invasion sub genre and applies it to a car lost in the woods. It’s such a great concept because we spend so much time in our cars, and the idea of getting lost in the middle of nowhere with someone stalking you strikes a real kind of fear into the audience.
There’s just something about only being able to see as far as the car’s headlights allow that really puts you on edge. And in the film they use this tactic to their advantage because as the car is speeding through turn after turn and the car’s lights spill onto the muddy, wet road, it has a way of playing tricks on your mind. Was there really a man standing on the side of the road? Do you really want to find out?
Lovering aimed for something different with In Fear and what we got was a very unique horror film that offers plenty of scares around each curve of the road. And the fact that he shot the film in order without telling the actors what was going to happen really takes this one to another level as far as raw, emotional fear goes. The story and outcome may be too simple for people looking for something a little more complex, but for what In Fear sets out to do, it delivers all the frightening goods you could hope for. It’s all about the simple fear of being lost in the dark and that terrible feeling of someone watching you from a distance. It’s a jarring, unsettling feature debut and one that promises many, many more frights to come. It isn’t the darkness that we should fear, it’s what inside of it… waiting.