Inside (2007)
By: J.R. Gregory on June 6, 2008  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Dimension Extreme (USA). Region 1, NTSC. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). French DD 5.1, English DD 5.1. English, Spanish Subtitles. 82 minutes
The Movie
Director: Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury
Starring: Beatrice Dalle, Alysson Paradis, Nicolas Duvachelle, Francois-Regis Marchasson, Nathalie Roussel, Aymen Saidi
Screenplay: Alexandre Bustillo
Country:c France
AKA: À l'intérieur
External Links
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How far would you go to get what you want? Would you defend what is yours at all costs?
These are the central questions explored in Inside (A l'interieur), a stunning, old-school horror film. This is one bloody, vicious, tense experience that has generated a considerable amount of discussion. Inside, the first-time feature from French duo Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo, has one hell of an impact that lasts long after the film has finished.

Inside has a classic plot where one person is pitted against another in a confined space, with a few peripheral characters. A young woman, Sarah (Alysson Paradis), is pregnant with her first child and is scheduled to be induced into labour the next day, which happens to be Christmas Day. The father of her unborn child died four months earlier in a car accident, leaving Sarah with a constant reminder of her loss. Against a backdrop of rioting in Paris, Sarah is home alone on Christmas Eve when she answers a knock at her door. A woman (Beatrice Dalle) is requesting her assistance, saying that her car has broken down. Sarah is wary and refuses to let her in. However, the woman seems to know a lot about Sarah and is not easily perturbed. The remainder of the film has Sarah trying to survive the night from this woman who has an unhealthy interest in her unborn child.

For the next hour we are treated to some of the most realistically violent and bloody set-pieces ever committed to film. There are stabbings, gunshots, burnings, impaling, and blood - lots and lots of blood - all directed unflinchingly and in gruesome detail. If Inside relied solely on gore it could be considered a successful film, but there is so much more. This is a beautifully shot film, with wonderfully constructed scenes that make you question whether or not you just saw something. The colour of the light, the murkiness, all add to the atmosphere. The soundtrack is similarly well-employed, enhancing the mood of the film.

The directors know that for there to be an added impetus to the violence and the blood, the story needs to be balanced by tension and there is plenty here. It goes up a notch with every failed rescue or escape attempt. The arrival of other characters is believable, and their inability to assist - or even survive - adds to the horror. Virtually the entire film takes place within the confines of Sarah's house, making for a claustrophobic experience.

Inside stands or falls on the performances of its lead actors, Alysson Paradis as Sarah and Beatrice Dalle as the Woman (she remains nameless throughout). Their performances are nuanced, believable and not your traditional scream-queen types. The viewer identifies with these characters, understanding their motivations and sympathising with their plight. Alysson Paradis brings to life Sarah's exhaustion and deep grief that has gone beyond tears. Her struggle to survive, to protect herself and her unborn child, are something that anyone can relate to. While our sympathies are with Sarah from the outset, as the movie proceeds the viewer can identify with the motivations of the woman. Her frustration at not being able to get what she wants, her maternal need to have a child, especially once you learn what events brought her to this point, are similarly recognisable. Beatrice Dalle brings a mixture of determination, nuance and madness to her role. Simple touches like her hurting herself trying to break down a door or responding negatively to another's touch make her more human, almost likeable, than your standard faceless killer.

This is not a perfect movie. There are a couple of "what the fuck?" moments, but the overall feel of grimness and relentless cruelty easily accommodates these factors. The final scenes will leave you breathless and possess a hauntingly beautiful look, and remain with you long after the credits have rolled on by. This is highly recommended.
Shadowy in places, but this is deliberate. The film is depicted in a yellowish half-light for the majority of the running time, adding to the claustrophobic and grim tone. Disc is in a matted widescreen format preserving the original aspect ratio.
The sound on this disc is fantastic. The score is unsettling and appreciably heightens the tension. It is presented in your choice of French DD 5.1, English DD 5.1 with English or Spanish subtitles.
Extra Features
Not a great deal. We get to see the Theatrical trailer and a Making of documentary. Refreshing to see that Beatrice Dalle is as freaky off-screen as she is on it rather than the usual puff-pieces you can be subjected to on these documentaries. Love how she does not read any scripts, and that she does not really act but thinks of each movie as being an extension of herself. Or as she puts it, Beatrice is off on another adventure. Wish that we had a commentary track with this or something, as the only thing stopping this from getting five out of five is the bare-bones dvd.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Inside is a rare beast, an intelligent, realistic, chilling horror film with blood coming from every orifice. At just over 80 minutes, it is relentless, fast-paced and gruelling to watch. Stand-out performances from the two female leads and you have one of the best horror films of the 21st Century. This is essential viewing for anyone who considers themselves a fan of horror cinema.

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