WORDS MEADHBH McGRATH
Television director Jeremy Lovering (behind the first episode of Sherlock’s third season) makes his feature film debut with this gripping horror film about a date gone horribly wrong. Iain De Caestecker (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and Alice Englert (Beautiful Creatures) play Tom and Lucy, who have just started seeing each other. On their way to a remote hotel in rural Ireland before a music festival, they follow sign after sign, but keep coming back to the same spot. As night begins to fall, fuel runs low and the couple get increasingly paranoid in the unwelcoming countryside. The intense, booming score and jagged cinematography give rise to a sense of nagging claustrophobia as it becomes alarmingly clear that someone is following them. In the style of The Blair Witch Project, the film is entirely improvised — neither of the young actors were given a script and each scene was shot chronologically so that the actors had no idea what was coming next. The two leads give terrific performances, although the film could have benefitted from more of a backstory on Tom and Lucy. Lovering expertly handles the suspense in the early parts, but after a nerve-racking build-up, the film reveals its hand too early on. The plot turns begin to feel forced and the tension subsides, resulting in the film arriving at a rather limp conclusion.