You know those movies where people are driving around, lost in the woods or on some back road? You know the ones. No matter what they do, they just can’t seem to find their way to the highway. Generally, they end in the suggestion that they have been dead the entire time, died in a car accident or something, and the entire film was their purgatory. In Fear masquerades as one of these films, but it’s not. All of the familiar elements are there. I even turned to my wife while watching, and told her I already knew how the film would end. I guess I should be happy that they didn’t take the predictable approach, and instead surprised me, right? Well, I would probably be grateful if there were any sort of ending to the film. It’s not that I felt the goings on needed to be explained as a supernatural occurrence, or even fully explained at all. I would have liked some sort of reason for the film to have existed in the first place, though, and I don’t think I was given that satisfaction, or anything near it.
The tragedy in this, is that up until the end of the film, this was one of the most intensely suspenseful film of its kind that I have seen for a very long time. I am a huge fan of Dead End, and even Reeker, so even if they did end the film on the same note as those, I would have walked away satisfied. Unfortunately, all that buildup, is met with no release whatsoever. I know, this is the point at which I am supposed to give you the plot rundown, but honestly, there isn’t much more to explain beyond the fact that a new couple are driving around, lost on back roads, trying to locate a hotel. It is suggested, sort of, that something supernatural is afoot, because no matter which way they go, no matter which road they take, they end up back at the same place. It is sort of explained later on, with the suggestion that somebody might be “messing with the signs”, but that doesn’t explain it to me, when they would go out of their way to avoid the signs, and still end up back in the same location.
Eventually, they happen across another person, standing in the road. And, when I say “happen across” I mean, plow through his ass, so of course they feel obliged to give him a ride afterwards. Once he barges his way into the car, he tells them a story about people that have been hunting him in the woods, so they go about on their car ride, thinking they have a common problem. I’m not going to spoil anything further, but my reaction to the movie from this point on is a nice, long farting sound. This is really disappointing, because as I said, I was pretty much loving it up until this point. It is a well made film, with solid acting, great camera work, and builds some of the most brutal tension of any film that I’ve seen for some time. At times, it made me so uncomfortable that I had to pause it and walk away for a few minutes. So for a film to accomplish such a feat, and then just end on a note like that, well, I described it up above as a tragedy, and I sincerely feel this way. I think director Jeremy Lovering has an epic horror film inside of him, so hopefully we’ll get that one day. Unfortunately, it appears that he’s already been ticketed for a ride on the remake train that so many promising new filmmakers get swept up in. It was recently announced that Jeremy would be directing the remake of The Changeling. After seeing this, I have no doubt that he can do that film justice, I just wish he wouldn’t allow himself to get shoehorned like that.
What started out as very promising, dropped the ball at the end. It doesn’t change the fact that the first two thirds of this film are extremely suspenseful, and pretty terrifying. The payoff is most definitely not rewarding, but the ride to get there is worth a rental, at the very least. The video and audio quality on the Blu-ray is in line with most new release Anchor Bay titles. It looks and sounds great. It is a new movie after all. Unfortunately, another trait on these Anchor Bay releases is an almost complete lack of extras. There is one single behind-the-scenes featurette on the disc, and that is it. If you like the film, however, you may as well go ahead and pick it up, because this is the best it is ever going to get. Anchor Bay isn’t known to double dip on anything other than certified classics that they know fans will buy regardless of how many releases they’ve bought prior. This, however, we probably won’t see re-released until the next “ultimate” home video format comes along, if even then. In Fear is now available on Blu-ray and DVD from Starz/Anchor Bay. You may find your own copy here.