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In Fear (Blu-ray Review)

In FearYou may have heard about In Fear just a tad if you’ve been a loyal Why So Blu? reader.  It’s a unique take on the home invasion subgenre of horror, that was a pretty big hit over at Sundance.  Anchor Bay has been pretty excited to be the home distributor for the film and has been pumping the hype machine for quite some time.  Now, its finally here and we can see what all this hub bub is about.  I liked what I was reading from the early pressers, so I wanted to go in blind as possible.  I know I had been posting clip after clip, but I had no idea what I was posting as I didn’t want a single bit of it spoiled for me upon my viewing.  So now we get to the nitty gritty and I finally get to share with you my experience with In Fear.  Did it hold up or live up to its hype?  Read on to see if how I went with this motorized tale of terror.

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Film 

Tom and Lucy are off to a music festival in Ireland.  It’s their two week anniversary and Tom has decided to book a room at a hotel the night before the festival to “celebrate” the occasion.  Lucy is a little taken aback by this, but decides to go along.  The hotel however, has a funny way of showing itself as they drive around following the signs only to note that they are going in circles.  They realize they are in a maze and are being stalked by a strange figure.  As the night goes on they continue to get lost, hunted and start to show some true colors.

This is an interesting little take on the “home invasion” genre of horror.  Instead of a home, we have two characters stuck in a car.  When I first heard the concept, I was really intrigued at how they were going to pull this off.  But, wonderfully, it actually works quite well.  Its not just two people in a parked car with a figure trying to get at them.  No, there’s a level of intrigue with driving around this maze and trying to figure out how the heck to get out of it.

In Fear is a very low budge, minimalist approach to make a horror film.  Its not that graphic and plays on suspense and character rather than exploitation.  Because of its minimalist approach, the film does indeed feature two characters driving around in a car for most of its run time.  While the film does feel a little longer than its 85 minute runtime, it still moves and captivates well enough.  Yes, there is a lot of close up shots of someone driving or riding in the car and having conversation.  But its all to build up the intensity and to let the audiences guard down.

The scares are pretty solid here.  I wish a lot of the jump scares were a little more…you know…”jumpy”?  But there is some pretty scary imagery abound and some tense situations to make up for it.  There’s a level of discomfort in some later scenes that definitely add to some chills and suspense for the film.  You also can manage to get as frustrated with failure as our main characters seem to when they just can’t figure their way out of this maze.

In Fear is a solid little unique take on the home invasion genre.  If you’re a fan of something like The Strangers or the original The Hitcher, then this one definitely has something to offer you.  Its pretty well acted and has enough intrigue and suspense to keep you guessing and enthralled for its short runtime.  Its nothing amazing, but it’s a good horror film to pass the time through and you won’t be peeved or anything that you chose to watch it.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2:35.1

Clarity/Detail:  For the most part, the film is nice and sharp featuring plenty of detail.  When well lit, the film looks great.  But during many interior scenes in the darkness in the car is where the transfer becomes a little problematic.

Depth:  When the film is light enough to see the surrounding it provides some solid depth and feel for the environment.  But most of the times we’re watching our characters in drive in pitch black conditions.

Black Levels:  Black levels are for the most part very good.  There are a couple rough patches where it’s a bit splotchy and has a bit of a blue look to it and its supposed to be the dark of night.  There is some crushing throughout out, but this movie is quite black the entire damn time, so it comes with the territory.

Color Reproduction:  This is a dark movie, but despite that and its cold look it does feature some good bold colors when it’s allowed to be colorful.

Flesh Tones:  There is some solid detail on skin, but it’s troubled in some many aspects. At one point there’s some flickering and redness during interior vehicle shots.  There are also plenty of moments of the skin tones looking too smooth and soft with light detail

Noise/Artifacts: There are some scenes in pitch black that when not well lit don’t look too hot, but for the most part they are displayed pretty well given the circumstances.

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD

Subtitles: English, Spanish

Dynamics:  The track is a mainly front heavy.  Sound effects sound absolutely terrific.  This track is set to an ideal volume.  When the car alarm goes its pretty jolting and my wife actually freaked out when hearing it from another room thinking someone was breaking into one of our cars in the garage.

Low Frequency Extension:  The score makes use of the sub and there’s some good low frequency with car doors closing.  Tires rolling in the mud also get some good buffer from the sub woofer.  Other than that not a lot of the action requires it.

Surround Sound Presentation:  The rear channels are used mainly for score and ambient sounds.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is loud and clear.  The voices are crisp and very clean.

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Extras 

Just one little featurette.  No trailer or trailers for other movies.  This is it.

In Fear: Behind The Scenes (HD, 12:50) – The producer, director and cast discuss their intentions in making this film.  Features some on set footage.

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Summary 

In Fear is a pretty good movie with a fantastic audio presentation and a mediocre, at few time troubled, video presentation.  The behind the scenes extra is nice but seems to be repetitive in its theme and is full of the normal back patting and promotional jargon that you find in all these.  For the right price, yeah, definitely something unique, new and fresh to add to your horror collection.  But with the skimpiness of how the disc is, I’d definitely rent it before owning it.


In Fear Blu-ray Cover Art

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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