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Stars: Joshua Glenister, Kim Spearman, Charlie Frances, Jack Gouldbourne, Alexander Lincoln, Grace Englert, James Faulkner, Harry Lloyd, Kate Isitt

Director: Guy Davies

Apparently the title means 'fear of falling in love' although my Chambers dictionary refuses to acknowledge it. Anyway, the setting is the sixth form of a school where teachers share spliffs with the pupils, boys have sex with girls in cupboards or in the school grounds, often on first acquaintance, and there are car crashes and beatings. Just your average comprehensive then.

Our central character is Kai (Glenister), much given to flowery, not to say windy voiceovers which mark him out as the sixth-form brainbox keen to escape his home town (the film was shot in Gloucestershire). Kai has the yens for school hottie/tart Grace (Spearman) - cue cliched shot of Grace taking her clothes off in the window opposite Kai's (they're neighbours) - but she, unfortunately, is currently the property of the School Bully (Lincoln) who's built like a brick outhouse.

That's the nub of a gruesomely protracted narrative that's punctuated by Kai seeing (or imagining) a noble stag in nearby woods, an animal destined to play a key role in the denouement of a film that seems to go on all night. Acting is competent enough from a crew of inevitably mature-looking 17-year-olds. I'd wager none of the actors concerned is under 23.

When the film isn't being staged in darkness, there's some lyrical widescreen photography from Stefan Yap.

David Quinlan

UK 2019. UK Distributor: Fablemaze. Colour by Cinelease.
125 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 2, Swearing 3.

Review date: 30 Oct 2020