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!
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 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
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.
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
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
INSIDE (ņ L'INTERIEUR)
La Fabrique De Films
Bustillo, Julien Maury
Producers: Verane Frediani, Franck Ribiere
Screenplay: Alexandre Bustillo
Cinematography: Laurent Bares
Beatrice Dalle, Alysson Paradis, Nathalie Roussel, Francois-Regis Marchasson,
Jean-Baptiste Tabourin, Dominique Frot, Claude Lule, Hyam Zeytoun, Tahar Rahim,