In Fear
R2 - United Kingdom - Studio Canal
Review written by and copyright: Samuel Scott (9th February 2014).
The Film

***This is a technical review only. For reviews on the movie from various critics, we recommend visiting HERE.***

From the makers of Sightseers and Attack the Block.

Driving to a music festival, Tom (Iain De Caestecker, Filth) and Lucy (Alice Englert, Beautiful Creatures) have plans to stay at a remote countryside hotel. But then signs lead them in circles and they are soon trapped in a maze of back-roads, with only their vehicle for protection from an unseen tormentor hell-bent on exploiting their worst nightmares. Driving, lost and tormented in the night, primal fears of the dark and unknown become real, as the couple realise they may have let the evil in, or that it was always there.

You'll be left In Fear.

Video

Studio Canal's DVD release of British chiller "In Fear" is in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The transfer has been anamorphically enhanced, and considering the vast majority of the feature takes place in the dark, it's not bad at all.

Filmed using a mixture of the Arri Alexa camera system, and even the well known dash cam Go Pro, there is some decent detail for large swathes of the movie, especially with shots made when the camera is stationary. Unfortunately, with a huge percentage of the movie taking place at night, we do suffer from a noticeable lack of shadow detail at times, which is a shame, as it seems we miss out on some of the objects we are supposed to see. There is some minor edge enhancement at times, such as when Lucy goes through a white cardboard box, but it is barely worth mentioning. Aliasing did happen once or twice on clothing, but again, the problem is minor. Colours are okay, but blacks do crush on occasion. Natural lighting was obviously used at times, and so scenes that take place at dusk, have a great feel to them. There are no signs of damage to the transfer at all such as scratches or dirt.

The disc is PAL, and the feature runs 81:25.

Audio

There are two audio options available for the feature:
- English Dolby Digital 5.1
- English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo

For my viewing, I obviously decided on the English Dolby Digital 5.1 track which was very good indeed. The film relies heavily on reaching, and maintaining, a tense atmosphere in order to work, and it does this through the effective (if basic) score and series of well directed subtle effects. Just some of the effects you can expect to hear around the sound stage are birds cawing and flying away through the brush, wind swirling round, trees and bushes rustling, footsteps, and, one of the best effects, bushes hitting and scraping along the car as it drives down narrow lanes. As the film goes on, you do feel more claustrophobic, thanks to the sound editors capitalising on the Irish back road environments that are used. There's no sign of background hiss, and I noticed no scratches or drop outs.

Optional subtitles are available in English for the hard-of-hearing.

Extras

The first extra is an audio commentary with director Jeremy Lovering and cast members Alice Englert, Iain de Caestecker, and Allen Leech. It's a relaxed commentary, and nobody really takes charge, leaving all four participants to have an equal opportunity at telling us stories from set, and the general making of. There are one or two quiet moments in the track, but Studio Canal have increased the volume of the film during these brief instances. It's a good commentary, though it could've done with more information on the technical side and the pre-production.

Next up, we have a "Behind the Scenes" documentary, which lasts 52:54. It shows plenty of behind-the-scenes footage and contains a plethora of interviews with various cast and crew members throughout. Interestingly, Allen Leach was not allowed to meet either Alice Englert or Iain De Caestecker until the relevant scenes, so that the director could capture genuine surprise. We learn about the improvisation that happened throughout, and that the cast and crew wouldn't receive orders for what was happening until 1-2 days beforehand, and often the cast and crew would receive different notes so as to really catch an off-guard feeling to the film. The documentary is an interesting look at how "In Fear" was put together, and never crosses into MTV-style back-slapping territory.

Next up, we have music from and inspired by In Fear, by Roly Porter (20:09). This extra is audio only (2.0 Stereo) and is basically a shortened isolated score. The mix is good, but I doubt most will listen to this more than once.

The rest of the extras are self-explanatory.
Stills Gallery
Start-up Trailers:
- "Evil Dead" (2013) (1:56)
- "Sightseers" (2:05)
- "The Last Exorcism: Part II" (2:19)
Theatrical Trailer (1:48)

Overall

The Film: B Video: C+ Audio: A- Extras: B- Overall: B

 


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