Inside


2007
Directed By Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo
Starring  Alysson Paradis and Beatrice Dalle

Some films attempt to push the envelope in service of nothing. Sure they have tons of gore and they might even have a clever gag or two that will impress you. When the credits roll you more than likely would be hard pressed to describe the plot of the film you just watched. These films are like fast food they serve a purpose but they don't provide any real nourishment. Inside is not one of those films, (to continue the metaphor) there are no empty calories. This is one of those rare films that will leave you with that twisted wonderful feeling that can only be achieved from a film kicking your ass for 90 minutes and feeling thankful for it.

Sarah (Alysson Paradis) is about to give birth at any moment when a stranger (Beatrice Dalle) shows up at her home with the full intention of taking her unborn child. If you want the audience to feel every once of pain you put on screen, make your film about a pregnant woman. Making the protagonist of a home invasion film pregnant heightens the stakes to an almost unbearable level. We feel every fall, every punch and every cut twice as much as we would have if the film were focused on a non-pregnant woman. Add in that our lead is four months removed from the death of husband and you have a woman that you in no way want to see anything bad happen to.

Too often film makers or perhaps studio executives are focused on explaining why every character is doing what they are doing. Ambiguity is not your enemy in suspense/horror films. In fact motivation often kills horror. Inside gives us our antagonists motivation but it in no way takes away form the level of horror. In fact knowing why she is doing what she is doing in many ways makes it far worse.

The acting in the film is remarkable. Paradis is incredibly believable and sympathetic. Dalle is frightening. I know this might be going a bit too far, but she is Nicholson (in The Shining) good. There is a sick logic working in her mind that put in the hands of a lesser actor would have come across as mugging or mustache twirling. Instead we see a woman who believes she is doing the right thing, that she (in her mind) is acting in a reasonable manor. I was equally scared and in awe of her performance.

I'm not sure who I can recommend this film to. Its off the rails, over the top violent but its incredibly well made and tense in a way that few other films are. If you are not too squeamish I would give this one a look. You should know with in the first 15 minutes or so if this is a film that you want to spend anytime with.