Writer_ Patrick Heardman
- Patrick Heardman visits an exclusive Q&A session with director Jeremy Lovering, and gives his verdict on the film In Fear.
Jeremy Lovering’s In Fear follows a young couple: Tom, (Iain De Caestecker) and Lucy (Alice Englert) on their pursuit of a hotel through winding roads in the British countryside. The concept, Lovering explains, was inspired by a visit to rural Ireland where he stayed at a small settlement, where locals had a violent history of internal feuds. Losing his way along the country roads later that night he became anxious that he might fall victim to an ambush at the hands of the villagers: In Fear was born.
So where does the horror come into it? Well, I can’t tell you. This, as it happens, appeared to be the tagline for Lovering’s directing ethos. His actors were purposely denied knowledge of their character’s destiny, not knowing if they would be killed, become villainous or indeed survive the ordeal. Inevitably this resulted in vast quantities of the film being improvised as we watch the young pair supposedly experience genuine confusion and a lack of direction. Iain and Lucy didn’t even know what, or perhaps more importantly, when something would jump out and scare them. This focus on method meant that, at times, I felt although I was not watching a horror film but a rather cruel social experiment testing the nerves of its participants to the limit. Lovering even revealed that he would intentionally ignore Iain on-set to emasculate him and make his performance more fragile and realistic. This may have produced the opposite effect however, given Iain’s distinctly flat performance.
When asked, Lovering was reluctant to pigeonhole In Fear as a horror film. Instead, he exclaimed, it fell into the psychological horror category. He was keen to cite its lack of on-screen violence and pointed to the building and release of tension as its main scare factor. In an age where audiences are widely desensitised to horrific violence and gut-wrenching gore, there is logic in his method however, the long scenes of driving through meandering country roads, instead, evoke a strong sense of nausea. At times it felt although I was on a very long and repetitive car journey, something I wouldn’t necessarily want to pay for as a recreational activity. There is a subtle difference between appreciation and enjoyment, and although I appreciated the experimental technique that was responsible for creating the performances, I couldn’t quite enjoy them.
In Fear Is in Cinemas now