Someone should come up with a map app that alerts users when they’re turning down a dark and winding road, so that they may turn around and avoid any potential murderers lurking around in the area. Tom (Iain De Caestecker) and Lucy (Alice Englert) aren’t lucky enough to have this fictional tech, so their night drive in the upcoming thriller In Fear is full of gut-wrenching terror and desperation. At least, that’s what’s implied by the film’s debut trailer, and though these kinds of movies are a dime a dozen, few of them have been half as tense as this preview looks.
The low-budget In Fear’s deceivingly simplistic plotline follows the young couple as they lose their way out in the middle of back roads and overgrown trees, presumably falling right into the hands of a character named Max, played by Downton Abbey’s Allen Leech. But is it really just some random maniac, or are they being targeted for a specific purpose?
I like that the trailer, via Yahoo! Movies, keeps it ambiguous and doesn’t even really show us the big bad guy at all, choosing instead to focus on the couple and their rapidly increasing sense of discomfort and fear. A movie like this usually highlights a distinctive villain for the more sadistic viewers to root for, but British director Jeremy Lovering looks like he took a page out of the creature-feature manual, waiting until just the right moment to reveal what everyone has been waiting to see.
That adds to my assumption that this won’t be an incidental game of cat and mice. The trailer keeps the paranoia intact in the way Tom and Lucy talk to each other and the words they use, especially when she says, "I couldn’t see his face." Either she will end up having a personal tie to the vicious trickster, or he will indeed be missing his entire face. Either way, I’m on board.
This is Lovering’s first film, having spent many years behind the camera for British TV series and miniseries, most recently the third season premiere of the hit drama Sherlock. There’s something about filmmakers in the U.K. that gives them a leg up when approaching stereotypical horror stories, with James Watkins’ surprisingly intense 2008 thriller Eden Lake serving as one of many examples. While keeping a film focused on only two characters could easily get derailed by a wheel-spinning second act, In Fear teases enough mysterious circumstances that will hopefully fill out its 85-minute runtime with barely enough room to breathe, much less scream.
While U.K. audiences have had since November to catch this flick, U.S. audiences will have to wait for its limited theatrical run starting March 7. But if you can wait four days, or if you don’t happen to live in any big cities, you can pick up the DVD and Blu-ray on March 11. You probably don’t want to buy it from that one electronics store that’s hidden out in the middle of the woods.