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Inside (Unrated) (2007)

Art House & International movie directed by Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury

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A French Gore Show, Brutal, Violent and Disquieting...

  • Apr 29, 2009

INSIDE (2007) is a French horror-thriller directed by Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury. I've read that these two directors were supposedly poised to direct the upcoming "Hellraiser" remake in 2009. I'm not quite sure as to why they are no longer on board for that project, and from what I've seen from this film, the two young filmmakers can definitely repulse even the most experienced movie watcher in the way "Inside" focuses in blood and gore. I have a very strong stomach and nothing bothers me; I can stand the most gruesome images and violence as long as there is emotional content. I have not seen a lot of French horror, but one thing I can say is that if this film is any indication, the French can make "Hostel" and the "Saw" franchise seem like a kid flick. It feels like a homage to the 70's and 80's exploitive gore flicks.

Synopsis partially derived from the dvd back cover:

Four months after a pregnant woman named Sarah loses her husband in a horrific car accident, she is visited on Christmas eve by a mysterious madwoman. Alone and desperate to save herself and her unborn child, Sarah fights to stay alive as each of her potential rescuers dies at the sadistic woman's hands.

Extremely violent, bleak and brutal would be the best words to describe this film. The directors rely on violent imagery to totally immerse the viewer into intense thrills. Blood and gore are omnipresent throughout that gore fans will definitely have reason to celebrate. "Inside" definitely tries to push the limits of blood and violence, the subject is focused to give the viewer an uncomfortable sensation. I rather enjoy exploring those places, the dark thematic affairs that make most people turn away. This film may be great for what it is trying to do, but I personally found that it lacked an insightful vision to truly deliver pure effective suspense. It is a straight-forward gore flick that never lets up on the violent graphic details that it felt like a gore show.

Sarah (Allison Paradis) is a woman with little known origins. All I knew about her from the start is that she is pregnant, a photographer, have just survived a car accident and has been widowed by the selfsame accident. Surely, a pregnant woman who had just gone through all these tragedies would automatically promote sympathy and empathy; especially when her one safe haven (her home) has been invaded by a maniacal woman (played by Beatrice Dalle). A pregnant woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown being held prisoner at her own home is truly disturbing and the filmmakers spare no attempts to make the audience feel her pain by visual brutal violence. All the violence that happens to Sarah happens on camera, and on that effect alone, I was more repulsed than impressed. "Inside" is a genre film, and to call it a horror thriller is an understatement; it is a sadistic motion picture. It expresses violence against women and what is more disturbing is that the violence is done by another woman. (and others)

Just who is this unnamed woman and what does she want? This is where it gets interesting and quite frankly, the film's best asset. Beatrice Dalle's character is creepy, demented and truly enigmatic. Although in the first half of the film, she seemed to be a little too "cardboard" for me, quite a bit "uniformed" to be dressed in a black outfit with an unsettling feel. The woman is a "genre" character so the success of the villain is all a matter of tone and execution. Dalle's antagonistic character may be more at home with exploitation and highly stylized horror films. Thankfully, her links with Sarah's past may prove to be the film's biggest surprise and will leave folks in awe but it has been marred by a huge plot hole. There are actually some faults in the screenplay such as Sarah's bathroom door; the lock seemed too flimsy that the stalker shouldn't have any problems breaking it open.

"Inside" is a film that expresses itself through its own bleakness. Unfortunately, suspense is almost none-existent as its tone and execution telegraphs the inevitability of its horrific outcome. The style is bleak, the cinematography is bleak, the film's set up itself is an exclamation point that the worst will happen, but you just have to root for the protagonist. It was the directors' intention; to promote automatic empathy for Sarah. Sadly, they overlooked its dramatic potential and they opted to settle for the use of violent imagery to generate sympathy. There are also some scenes that looked a little too stretched out that made them look like minor "fillers" to induce intensity. Actress Allison Paradis does an impressive performance as the character very much in pain and emotional collapse; while Beatrice Dalle's delivers a very creepy, frightening portrayal of our mystery woman .

Overall, "Inside" is more successful as a "gorefest" than a great addition to horror-thrillers (this isn‘t a bad thing). The film is an effective "gross-out" feature film that is sadistic, brutal and unrelenting in its execution of violence. If what the directors are looking for is to repulse and shock audiences then they succeed hands down. However, if you are looking for pure, unadulterated suspense that can really get under your skin in a different way, look somewhere else. Folks who enjoy onscreen excessive violence and gore will embrace this film, but sadly it barely made it for me. It had all the dramatic potential but the film just became a vehicle for grim, dark scenarios with a lot of mindless bloodshed. True, the twist at the climax that explains Dalle's behavior may add some "punch", but it feels like a throwaway detail because of the huge hole in the plot. It felt like a gimmick that takes a stab at the audience; "did you see that coming?"…I did, unfortunately.

I do commend the filmmakers that they did have the guts to follow through its very bleak and violent execution; that they knew exactly what they wanted to do and they weren‘t pretentious about it at all.

Recommended timidly, rent it first. [3 ½ Out of 5 Stars ]


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December 28, 2010
Oh yeah this was another good one, I remember I bought this one and a movie called "Broken" at the same time.
May 09, 2009
Good film! I bought this one basically after reading a few reviews over a year ago without first renting. I was impressed. The French Horror wave is killing American films with recent endeavors like High Tension, Inside, & ofcourse Martyrs. Well, Frontier(s) had it's moments but I wasn't quite as impressed with that one.
April 29, 2009
Wow, is this little film actually all that it takes to gross you out? Gosh, that must be some bloody, gory violence, huh? Good to see you back up and reviewing.
April 30, 2009
well, it was brutal. The French are officially kicking Hollywood's asses in horror!
More Inside (2007) reviews
review by . June 20, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
**** out of ****     What you expect to go into a horror film is to be terrified. Sometimes horrified. Sometimes amused. Sometimes disgusted. I don't go for all of those reasons, but I certainly watch horror films for some of them. I like horror cinema, and I've already explained why in past reviews for horror films that I either loved or despised, so I feel no solid reason to repeat myself. After all, repetition is the lead killer in this world, and it's also what puts me to …
review by . May 08, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Gosh, it seems the French Horror films are really putting us to shame. Somebody better pick up the pace or we can kiss the American Horror films as we know them good-bye. After seeing High Tension & Frontiers, I was convinced that I'd seen the best France had to offer in terms of fright films. Boy, was I ever wrong. Inside is every bit as icky as either & the suspense matches anything were apt to see in theatres lately.    Inside starts out with a very pregnant & …
review by . May 21, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Well, I guess I can start off this review by saying that this is solid proof that Euro-Horror and it's director's are so far ahead of us Americans when it comes to the horror genre. While our studios are continuing to crank out remakes, and basically recycling stuff that have sat in the can for years - it are the European filmmakers who are out there whipping up new and imaginative ideas like they usually do.     From French Directing duo, Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury, comes …
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About this movie


Hailed by several critics as the first great French horror film this millennium,Insideopens on a gory note and stays true to the bloodfest throughout. But rather than using splatter-gore for comedic effect, as did young directing team Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo's predecessor, Hershell Gordon-Lewis, this duo timed their gore to build tragic suspense, scene after disgusting scene. The strength ofInside'splot is its simplicity, though the film is slow at first. Pregnant photojournalist, Sarah Scaragato (Alysson Paradis), has just lost her husband in a fatal car accident and is in recovery when her baby is due on Christmas Eve, in fact. Morose, she rejects friend and family visits, opting to stay home. A bewitched predator, played by Beatrice Dalle, senses Sarah's vulnerability and seizes upon it like a spider capturing prey in its web. The tale, woven around maternal psychosis, reveals Dalle's haunting preoccupation with stealing Scaragato's unborn baby. Each character who enters Sarah's house, the "war zone" as one doomed policeman puts it, encounters the wrath of two women fighting with mirror shards, knitting needles, scissors, hurled kitchen appliances, and even a homemade bayonette. Like the best horror thrillers about motherhood---Rosemary's Baby,Don't Look Now,Alien---Insideseizes ample symbolic opportunities to exhibit the primal obsession women have with babies. Even better,Insideinvites feminist critique as do other ...
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DVD Release Date: April 15, 2008
Runtime: 90 minutes
Studio: Genius Products (TVN)
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