In Fear ★★

Jeremy Lovering’s low budget and stripped back horror is a film of two distinct halves. A young couple, having only known each other for two-weeks, head to a music festival in Ireland. As a romantic gesture, Tom, books a night in a secluded hotel only for the couple to get hopelessly lost on the Irish backroads whilst being tormented by an assailant with unclear motives.

Despite its adherence to genre convention, the opening half an hour is surprisingly effective. The couple, nicely underplayed by Alice Englert and Iain De Caestecker, possess a flirty chemistry that quickly turns sour when they become trapped in a labyrinth of endlessly shifting country roads. The claustrophobic and minimal set-up of two people getting lost in a car creates a gradual yet palpable sense of foreboding.

The uneasy atmosphere is accentuated by mistrust and paranoia that slowly festers between the pair. Unfortunately, Lovering struggles to sustain the film on pure atmosphere alone and as he piles on unconvincing jump scares the film begins to fall apart. The characters, that once seemed natural and credible, start to flounder as they do the stupidest things to progress the paper-thin plot.

By the time a third character is introduced the film is as lost as the panicked couple as the cat and mouse games escalate in increasingly unbelievable ways. Come the climax the film’s strong opening is but a distant memory with Lovering falling back on hoary cliches and cheap tricks and forgetting the characters altogether.

Despite a strong festival reception, In Fear is sadly just another disappointing British horror movie.