In exploring familiar territory, ‘The Fearway’ foregoes any suspense, in favour for impressive presentation and a quirky selection of characters.
The plot of ‘The Fearway’ follows a young couple travelling through the desert. Initially their journey seems fine, however their small talk is interrupted by a brief, but pivotal sequence where first their car experiences some bizarre technical issues, and then the couple become harassed by an aggressive tailgater. Shaken, but no less perturbed, the couple find refuge in an isolated diner, however, they quickly realise their plight is something they cannot drive away from…
Given the whole ‘on-the-road’ threat, your mind can’t help to recall other classic films such as ‘Duel’ or even ‘Jeepers Creepers’, although admittedly our antagonists stylish Challenger is somewhat more impressive than it is intimidating than the ‘BEATINGU’ murder wagon! However, the film plays out more similar to a twilight zone episode.
The film isn’t scary as such, and much of the films tension and atmosphere centre around the mysterious driver, whose vampire like aesthetic looks cool, but more comic like, than mysterious. On the theme of presentation, ‘The Fearway’ is an impressive looking movie, where the films orange hue giving the desert locations a pretty cool stylised look, and whilst limited in diversity, the cinematography in general does a really good job at matching the mood and pacing of each scene.
As with the locations, the film relies on a small number of characters to tell its story. Without ruining much – although admittedly you’ll have guessed the films fairly typical ‘twist’ fairly early on – the diner folk are clearly hiding something from our sickly-sweet loved up couple. Each of the characters are a typical stereotype, but, early on at least, they offer up some amusing dialogue and, despite being sub-plot, their brief conversational exposition into their back stories make for equally compelling story telling. I’ll accept, that as the film tries desperately to hold onto its mystery, the dialogue starts to verge on cringy, rather than intriguing. Equally, as the ‘twist’ as it were, is pretty obvious far long before the film is wanting to give it up, the acting starts to creak at the seems as their cliched dialogue backs a solid cast into a corner.
Still, it never completely unravels, and there are enough set pieces to enjoy, even before the films agonising ending exposition confirms what most viewers will have figured out about 30 minutes before hand…
On this note, ‘The Fearway’ is really close in concept to a number of well established movies that have come before, and whilst I enjoyed watching a fresh set of faces enter into the inevitable I was a little surprised that the plot didn’t at least try to throw something new into the mix – hell there’s even an episode of ‘Supernatural’ which manages to wear its influences on its sleave whilst making the concept its own.
That said, I enjoyed ‘The Fearway’ for what it was. Its slickly shot, and well-presented all round, from a technical perspective, and in some ways its familiarity makes it a comfortable watch. It’s a shame it doesn’t bring much more to the table as there’s clearly a good deal of potential both in front and behind the camera, but still, for those who are wanting a film in the vein of ‘Identity’ or ‘Dead End’ you’ll get on fine.