Back when I reviewed the film Martyrs, I stated how the French are kicking ass in the horror film department, and I mentioned a film called Inside. Now it's time to take a closer look at that film.
Inside (or A' I'nterieur,2007) tells the tale of a woman named Sarah ( Alysson Paradis). Sarah lost her husband in a tragic car wreck 4 months prior. She is pregnant, however, and due to go to the hospital the next day ( which happens to be Christmas)to induce labor. Sarah is not overjoyed, however, as she is still overwhelmed with grief at her husband's death. She makes plans with her mother and boss to get to the hospital the next morning.
That night, she has a stranger knock on her door- a woman (Beatice Dalle), who when Sarah refuses to let her in, tells her that she knows her name, that her husband is dead, and that she wants Sarah's baby...and the woman is armed with a very large pair of surgical scissors to do the job. What starts as a holiday evening filled with depression and solitude becomes a blood-soaked night of terror and murder. Will Sarah survive? Will the unborn baby survive ? Who is this mysterious woman, and why does she want Sarah's baby so badly?
Inside is a masterpiece of horror, in my humble opinion. It takes a very simple (if not twisted) premise and runs with it. The film, written by Alexandre Bustillo and co-directed by Bustillo and Julien Maury, makes the most of its modest structure-small cast, few locations (the primary one being Sarah's house), and a small budget by your usual Hollywood standards. In spite (or maybe because) of its somewhat small scale, the film is packed with emotion, intensity, and blood...gallons of it.
Like Martyrs, the acting helps to sell the story. Paradis' portrayal of Sarah makes the viewer feel for her loss, even as she alienates those around her(in fact, she's downright bitchy at times). Still, it's hard not to have sympathy for her, especially when there's a crazy woman trying to cut her baby out of her with a big-ass pair of scissors. Speaking of that, big acting kudos go to Dalle for her role as 'La Femme', said scissor-wielding psychopath. Dalle makes her character one of the scariest screen nutjobs to come down the pike in quite a while. Whether it's lying, acting innocent, or going all stab-happy, La Femme will do whatever it takes to reach her goal.
It's interesting that these two French films, Martyrs and Inside have a lot in common- strong female lead actors, powerful emotional content, intensity, and violence aplenty. I think one of the reasons these films are so effective is the depth of the emotional content , and of the acting...if you care about and feel for the characters, it's even more horrific when tragic and violent things happen to them.
I want to also mention the look of the film. The colors/lighting used make for an interesting look-the dark house, the yellow, sodium-looking light in most of the house, the bright, white of the interior of the bathroom (which makes the blood stand out all the more)...the use of different colored lighting reminds me a bit of Italian filmmaker Dario Argento's Suspiria ( see my review back last october), but used in a more realistic efffect, as opposed to the otherworldly, fairytale effect Argento strove for.
As the above picture may tell you, Inside is a very violent film. There were some scenes that made me cringe, and that takes a lot. As always, the copy I own is unrated, and , as always, if there is a watered-down version, I would stay away from it...there's no sense in half-assing it.
If you've a mind to watch an intense, bloody horror film, put a copy of Inside in the old DVD player, and prepare for a wild ride. I officially give it The Beast's Seal of Approval...so go watch it, already.