THE FEARWAY ** USA 2023 Dir: Robert Gajic. 81 mins
Traveling through the desert, Sarah (Shannon Dalonzo) and her fiance Michael (Justin Gordon) decide to stop at a roadside diner on their way to a family get-together. As they try to leave, they notice the stranger (Briahn Auguillard) who was following them earlier has returned and begins chasing them through the desert forcing them to continually retreat back to the diner for safety where they learn the truth about their journey and how to get away from their pursuer. Trying to put their newfound knowledge to the test, they’re faced with the deadly secret behind their journey in order to get away from their pursuer.
Overall, “The Fearway” was a solid if somewhat flawed effort. One of the better elements here is the strong atmospheric build-up of the first half here, with Sarah and Michael being continuously freaked out by what’s going on with them. The constant interactions out on the highway and the strangeness of being around the creepy rest stop diner workers who know more than they’re letting on involving a big mystery surrounding the origin of the hunter. This works fine enough but doesn’t really hold up the film over the big flaws here. The main issue with this one is the immensely clichéd and predictable set up which feels very much that it’s based around the couple coming to terms with their mortality. This is way too easy to see the end goal of the story and makes way too much of the film feel repetitive while they’re going through the desert or in the diner. Since everyone is clearly aware of the grand scheme of everything and they’re not willing to dole out answers it causes the middle section of the film to stretch itself out with Sarah and Michael running around in circles regarding not only their failed escape attempts but also the how and why. By revealing everything in the final few minutes and ending without much resolution, the lack of information does make everything feel that much more underwhelming by not being more immersive with its central concept especially since it’s so easy to spot from the start. These factors are all enough to bring this one down even with a couple of decent positives.
Review by Don Anelli