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INSIDE

For once you can believe the hype: the French INSIDE, easily the most talked-about genre film in recent memory, is a groundbreaking masterpiece of shock and suspense.  It is, however, NOT suitable viewing for pregnant women! 

The Package 
     2007ís INSIDE (ņ L'INTERIEUR) was a low-budget production from two first time filmmakers that seemingly emerged literally from out of nowhere--and yet we look back at it years from now as the film that single-handedly reinvigorated the horror genre.  At the very least it provides French starlet Beatrice Dalle, playing a psychotic fetus-snatcher, with her first great role since BETTY BLUE back in 1986.
     The film is very much a part of the American-inspired horror/gore boom taking place in Europe, which started with the French HIGH TENSION in 2003 and continued with SHEITAN (2006), FRONTIER(S) (2007), and MARTYRS (2008), also from France, and the Belgian efforts CALVAIRE (2004) and THEM (2006).  But INSIDE is surely the stand-out, and one of the most remarkable horror flicks of any sort to come along in years--really

The Story 
     The heavily pregnant Sarah, a wealthy photographer, is injured in a car accident that takes the life of her boyfriend.  She retires to her home, where a mysterious woman turns up outside.  Sarah doesnít let the woman in and calls the police; by the time the cops arrive, though, the woman has left.  The police take off themselves, promising to send officers by to check up on Sarah later that night.
     But the woman has not left.  Sheís actually broken into the house, and makes her presence known by waking Sarah up with a large pair of scissors jabbing her belly button--the woman, a tall brunette, is evidently psychotic, and clearly has unhealthy designs on Sarahís unborn child.  Sarah manages to fight her off and lock herself in the bathroom.
     Minutes later Sarahís mother turns up for a visit.  The psychotic woman pretends to be watching the place but the old lady isnít fooled; as you might guess, she ends up killed...by Sarah, who mistakes her for her attacker.  Next Sarahís publisher pays a visit, and has his genitals gouged by the insane woman.  Two policemen follow with a handcuffed miscreant in tow--all three are dispatched in suitably gruesome fashion.
     This leaves Sarah, who by now has fled the confines of her bathroom, to face down the woman on her own.  The latter, it seems, has a secret relating to Sarah and her about-to-be-birthed child (hint: it involves the car accident that set everything off).  But Sarahís pissed and ready to kill the bitch, even if it means injuring the fetus inside her.  Who will win?  The answer, FYI, isnít as cut and dried as it might seem. 

The Direction 
     INSIDE isnít the first pregnant-woman-in-jeopardy thriller ever made, but it might as well be.  Itís a profoundly bloody film, but also contains a fair amount of old-fashioned suspense, along with a subtle, creeping menace of a type that isnít supposed to be able to co-exist with extreme gore.
     The two leading ladies are unusually strong and convincing, yet the filmmakers donít waste a lot of screen time with extraneous character development.  The run time is a brisk 82 minutes, most of it taken up with action and bloodletting.  And I can assure you the bloodletting is potent and disturbing, to say the least; the proceedings WILL make you flinch, whether you think youíve ďseen it allĒ or not! 
     I understand that what Iíve written thus far may make the film sound like an exercise in highbrow shock along the lines of IRREVERSIBLE or IN MY SKIN, but thatís not the case at all.  While INSIDE does bring up many provocative issues (the horrors of pregnancy being foremost among them), itís actually a straightforward, unpretentious exercise with one overriding objective: to scare the living fuck out of its viewers.  And it succeeds!
 

Vital Statistics 

INSIDE (ņ L'INTERIEUR)
La Fabrique De Films 

Directors: Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury
Producers: Verane Frediani, Franck Ribiere
Screenplay: Alexandre Bustillo
Cinematography: Laurent Bares
Cast: Beatrice Dalle, Alysson Paradis, Nathalie Roussel, Francois-Regis Marchasson, Jean-Baptiste Tabourin, Dominique Frot, Claude Lule, Hyam Zeytoun, Tahar Rahim, Emmanuel Guez
 


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