Pretty sure I’ve recommended this before, but that’s why you always stay at a Motel 6. They keep the lights on for ya.
Tom (Iain De Caestecker) decides that he wants to impress his new girlfriend, Lucy (Alice Englert). So, in order to do this, he books them a hotel for the night, before they go off to some hip, cool folk festival the next day. Problem is, on the way to the hotel, they run into quite a few problems. For one, Tom gets into a bit of a scuffle with some lads at the local pub and doesn’t really know if they’re following him or not. And secondly, he can’t find out where the hell he’s going to get to this damn hotel he made reservations for. Because even though the signs say to go one way, the roads are telling him another way. Eventually, day becomes night and both Lucy and Tom begin to get more freaked out than ever before and wonder if they’re ever going to leave this damn path and find the hotel. And then they come to the scary realization, they might have been followed and even worse, are being toyed with at the expense of some sick, twisted individual.
So while In Fear totally reads out like the most ordinary, by-the-numbers piece of horror, here’s a real shocker for you – it actually isn’t. In fact, I’d say it comes pretty close to being one of the best horror movies I’ve seen this year and I’m not totally sure if it’s even supposed to be placed into that genre.
Okay, that’s a lie, because it totally is. There’s something inherently chilly and spooky about this movie that will definitely give you the creeps, regardless of if you watch it on Halloween night, or on Christmas Day. Basically, it’s a horror movie, through-and-through, but there’s something else about it that constantly keeps on hitting me in the head and has me thinking differently of where to classify this movie; while the movie may be created for shocks, jumps, and scares, the premise itself is almost way too real.
What I mean by this is that In Fear seems like the type of movie that could literally happen to anyone of us out there. You, or I, or somebody one of us knows, could decide to rent a hotel room for a night in a place that they aren’t already too knowledgeable about in the first place, get lost, get played with by some messed-up person, and even possibly, murdered under mysterious circumstances. And no, I am not giving away the plot to this movie too much and spoiling it for you folks out there, but more or less, speaking in hypothetical terms, as a movie like this begs us to ask this question to ourselves while watching it.
Could this actually happen in real life? Well, yes. Is it highly likely? Possibly. I don’t know. I haven’t heard of too many cases about it, but then again, I’m not looking for any of them either.
Anyway, I’m getting further and further away from the movie and more towards my own, nonsensical philosophical questions about life, and art imitating it. So, I’ll shut up for now, but do realize that one of the main reasons why this movie works so well, is because it seems almost too real to be considered an exciting piece of horror.
But like I was saying before, this is a pretty tense movie that, for the longest time, literally feels like it could go anywhere. This wasn’t just total happiness for a fella like me that expects this anytime I go out to see whatever piece of predictable, conventional garbage the horror genre decides to throw at me next, but total happiness for the inner-film maker in me that made me realize something this simple and easy, could actually be a hell of a time to watch, regardless of budget or names attached to your project. So long so as you have a compelling story idea, along with a group of many others, and decide to go with it in any way you decide to do so, then that’s all you need in order to make for a good film.
Well, that, and at least a few developed-characters that are worth our time and effort to get invested in. And here, with Tom and Lucy, we have just that. Though we hardly get to know anything about them other than they are two young people, who like one another and are planning on having something of a romantic getaway together, it’s all we really need. It’s so simple and carefree that we don’t really need much else to identify with them and the peril they eventually are going to go through, but also, it’s so compact in its details that it doesn’t ask us to think anymore about them than we already need to. Sure, they’re young kids, who may not always use their heads when making certain decisions, but there’s something ever so endearing about that that not only made me want to jump into the movie and help them get to some sort of a hotel, but do so as one couple, together, who eventually live happily ever after.
That’s what I wanted the most, and even though the movie presents me with the idea that this may not even happen, there was still that small sense of hope in the pit of my stomach.
And for a movie like this, that matters the most. Whether you want it to or not.
So yeah. That’s about all I can say about this movie without spoiling it for the rest of yous. Just go ahead, check it out, and see what the heck happens next. Because I can totally assure you – you will be hooked and you’ll never want to book a reservation at another shady motel ever again. Unless you didn’t already have this rule beforehand. Then, in that case, good job. You smart specimen, you.
Consensus: Though it may be simple in its frame, In Fear is still compelling enough to not just be a thrilling piece of horror, but also a thought-provoking piece about what you would do if ever caught in the same situation because, well, you never know what could happen next. Just saying.
8 / 10 = Matinee!!