Haunted houses may scare kids, but adults have simpler fears. Lucy and Tom, for example, are lost. A tentative couple on their first weekend getaway (ably played by Beautiful Creatures‘ Alice Englert and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s Iain de Caestecker), they’ve booked an out-of-the-way hotel, but after following a truck marked Kilairney House into the vicinity, they still can’t find the place.
They follow signs and consult maps, disoriented by the maze of narrow Irish roads. Worse yet, as they circle and peer into the murk for any hint of their hotel, it seems that they’re being harassed and sabotaged by some malevolent force.
Director Jeremy Lovering wisely keeps the focus tight, largely confining our field of view to the rental car as the budding romance curdles under pressure, occasionally stirring in a shot from the stalker’s distant vantage.
In Fear traffics in suspicion, ratcheting tension, and shocks — including a few really effective ones — more than in satisfying explanations. The script only hints at the motivation behind the malice, and hand-waves away all the planning and effort such terrorizing requires.
But logic is a torch we can use to fight our fears. If it flickers only dimly here, perhaps that’s by design.