Director: Richard Waters
Writer: Richard Waters
Cast: Ciara Bailey, Tad Morari
Producer: Alison Scarff
Music: Steve Nolan
Cinematographer: Rowan Moore
Editor: Richard Waters
Cert: 15 (TBC)
Running time: 73mins
What’s the story: After rebuilding their relationship, couple Rosie (Bailey) and Dan (Morari) go hiking in a nearby forest. After getting lost, they realise the forest does not want them to leave.
What’s the verdict: The beautiful Irish countryside turns ugly in Richard Waters’ lean chiller. Ciara Bailey and Tad Morari’s are note perfect as a couple whose relationship moves from fragile stability to panic and distrust when they realise a woodland walk has turned supernaturally malevolent. As exasperation at getting lost turns into concern, then fear, idyllic areas near Ireland’s Wicklow coastline are transformed into places of torment and encroaching, damp evil. Bring Out the Fear is a film where even dew hangs off leaves in a threatening way.
Moves are borrowed from the Blair Witch playbook: strange forest symbols, temporal distortions, impossibly circular hikes. But Waters’ script throws up twists and obstacles at a breakneck pace, the film achieving moments of genuine tension as reality melts around the couple. As director, Waters succeeds in making a small area of woodland seem never-ending, assisted by subtly CGI augmented drone shots and a similarly enhanced perturbing view from a hilltop.
Themes of regret, recrimination and control are woven into the film without smothering the horror or tipping the balance. Wisely left ambiguous is the agent behind Rosie and Dan’s torment, and the enigmatic final shot is open to all sorts of interpretation.
A film anyone for anyone who would rather repel a home invasion than lace up a pair of hiking boots.