At a time when lesser genre hacks are resorting to leering schlock and dreary formula, it’s good to see director Jeremy Lovering going the extra mile with this inventively stripped-down tension-mounting chiller. Iain De Caestecker and Alice Englert (the latter so terrific in the sorely overlooked Beautiful Creatures) are the newly acquainted couple en route to a music festival in Ireland who opt to spend a pre-mosh night in a remote country hotel.
As the labyrinthine country roads lead them inexorably back to the same spot, night begins to fall, fuel runs low, tempers fray, and bad stuff starts to happen. Or does it?
Cranking up the paranoia after a misplaced word in the local pub (it’s not just the Cornwall-shot locations that invoke the ghosts of Straw Dogs), In Fear lets its increasingly rattled characters stew for as long as possible before gradually revealing its hand, improvisation adding to the credibility of the couple’s unravelling behaviour.
Nostalgic nods to the substantive grime of the 70s go beyond mere smart-arsed visual quotation, while an atmospheric soundtrack ups the anxious ante.