The Fearway - New Release Review
Director: Robert Gajic
Starring: Shannon Dalonzo, Justin Gordon, Simon Phillips, John D. Hickman, Jessica Gray, Eileen Dietz
Written by: Noah Bessey
Produced by: Mem Ferda
Cinematography by: David Gordon
Original Score by: Darren Morze
A young couple travelling down the freeway seem to be unable to get off the road after being hunted by someone intent on keeping them on the road.
At first glance 'The Fearway' is an homage to classic horror road films of the past. It uses an iconic horror film set-up to entice you in. A young couple madly in love enjoying their somewhat romantic road trip. And then their idyllic life is turned upside down by a crazy maniac who is out to get them for some unbeknownst reason. He just won't stop and there's nothing they can do about it. 'The Fearway' might be low budget horror and it takes a little while to get going but the direction that it ended up taking was pleasantly surprising.
Think 'Jeepers Creepers' with only a smidgen of the budget and you're getting close to imagining what 'The Fearway' is. Sadly the film tries a little TOO hard in attempting to replicate the tension that 'Jeepers Creepers' perfectly brings to the screen and its nowhere in the same ballpark in terms of the quality in any of its technical or artistic fields.
The two leads, Shannon Dalonzo and Justin Gordon are perfectly fine with what they're given (their dialogue prior to the encounter with the crazy maniac is particularly awful) and as their situation worsens you do feel for them. Unfortunately the rest of the cast didn't really make me feel anything whatsoever.
The film looks gorgeous, especially during the scenic road sequences on the stretch of the desert highway but a lot of the shot choices during the diner scenes (which is the main location throughout the entire film) are a bit bland and uninteresting. After the couple have their initial encounter with the maniacal driver that's following them, the plot begins to thicken slightly when we slowly realise that there's some sort of time loop going on here. That's probably not the most accurate description of what is actually happening but it becomes clear that they cannot get off this stretch of road and that something supernatural is keeping them here. This added some necessary intrigue and the film becomes a lot more interesting because of it.
One thing I think the film doesn't get right is the villain. He's definitely influenced by the Creeper but we see close ups of his face way too early. I would've liked more tension and suspense built around him but a lot of that dies away when we see his face. He is a humanoid but he is definitely not human. Pointy teeth, spiky fingernails and a long trench coat all sound pretty cool on paper but there is little to no scare factor when he reveals himself. He growls like some sort of feral beast but is devoid of any personality. He is just sort of there.
And there is painfully little horror in the film either. Other than a scary dude following the couple and the eventual realisation that they cannot escape, there isn't much edge-of-your-seat tension or dread. The early chase scenes are well put together but it's edited a bit like an advertisement, technically sound but without the gripping intensity. Everything occurs in broad daylight which ties into the plot but actually makes anything scary less effective.
Although the script is not terribly well written the premise of the film has enough going for it and the last sequence where everything is truly revealed had me. There could be a great film here but the small budget and obvious other restraints are clearly choking the life out of it. It was a fun watch but ultimately I was left dissatisfied when the credits rolled. Lovely song though.
- Gavin Logan
'The Fearway' is available on Digital Platforms in the UK on February 13th