The Fear Inside

(Leon Ichaso, USA, 1992)


To anyone not especially familiar with the genre, many contemporary thrillers may look like carbon copies of each other. A couple or family in peril inside their own home; a charming but sinister psychopath who comes to call; psychological power play leading to a bloody showdown amidst the ruins.

What distinguishes one movie of this sort from the next is often small but telling details: in particular, the references that are made to current lifestyle fads and topical obsessions. This modest but intriguing thriller demonstrates this phenomenon very well.

The Fear Inside is a quite gripping, unsettling thriller with a top-notch cast. Christine Lahti plays Meredith, a painter who cannot bring herself to walk out the front door without extreme phobic reactions. The tensions in her personal life are magnified a hundred fold when two crazed killers (Dylan McDermott and Jennifer Rubin) take up residence in the house, pretending to be brother and sister.

The treacherous, perverse and deadly games between the members of this infernal triangle are rendered with a lurid flair by director Leon Ichaso. Hellish blue light, expressionist decor and slow-motion effects enliven the constricted setting of the drama.

Some of the plot twists along the way are pretty mechanical, but the finale offers a bracing spectacle of blood-soaked nihilism.

MORE Ichaso: Those Bedroom Eyes

© Adrian Martin March 1994

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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