Vince Grayson, a young bank teller, wakes up from a terrible nightmare wherein he sees himself committing murder in a peculiar mirrored room. As he collects himself, he discovers a couple items which make him fear the worst, that this was no dream at all. With Vince in a panic he turns to his brother-in-law, Cliff, who happens to be a police detective. Cliff dismisses Vince's story at first, until the family, on a picnic in the canyons, seeks shelter from a thunderstorm in deserted mansion happening to contain the same mirrored room. Maxwell Shane's Fear In The Night is a tight narrative thriller showcasing a nice amount of style and substance given the film's shoestring budget. The opening dream sequence of the film is a highlight. It features some subversive style, especially for the time, in effectively evoking the nightmarish situation that Vince finds himself in. Similar to lots of Noirs, Vince has lots of internal dialogue which puts the viewer firmly into his state of mind. We the viewer don't know what to make of Vince's vision either, with the film even throwing out some subtle conversational dialogue that comments on Vince's previous problems with fever dreams. Even towards the end of the film the viewer questions Vince's innocence or guilt, giving the whole film a nice mysterious element. In the end, there is nothing incredibly special about Fear in the Night but it does tell an interesting and unique detective story which is lead and fast-moving.
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