Hallow-vent Calendar - Day 14: Inside

Welcome to our Hallow-vent Calendar; a horror-film-filled daily countdown to our favourite spooky celebration, Hallowe'en. For Day 14, David Ames goes Inside...

In recent years, horror films have become more well-respected as a genre. Modern classics like The Witch, Audition, and Let the Right One In have all made leaps into mainstream success by being both horror oriented and incredibly well made. France in particular has seen a rise in recent horror success with a new breed of extreme horror coming from the country. Films like Irreversible, Haute Tension, and Martyrs have taken the horror market by storm and added to a legacy of other great horror films like Them and Possession.

Today I watched a film which has received rave reviews. Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo’s 2007 home invasion film Inside has been lauded as a modern classic with such brutality as would put it on par with any other horror film in recent memory. To say that I was impressed is an understatement.

But damn, was I impressed. This has one of the single most disturbing endings I have ever seen.

Inside follows a pregnant woman named Sarah whose husband was recently killed in a car accident. The film jumps to four months later as the woman prepares to give birth. The night before the doctors will induce her, a strange woman comes to her home and breaks in, terrorizing Sarah in an attempt to steal her unborn child.

I cannot stress this enough. If you are squeamish, this film is not for you. It isn’t overly gory, although there is quite a bit of blood. It is really the ideas presented which cause the most discomfort. The kill scenes are perfect and Sarah’s muted-color apartment provides the perfect canvas for all of the blood and viscera. The practical effects, the blood, wounds, scars, and such, are done masterfully and avoid the trope of appearing over-the-top and forced. There is also a very nice stylistic approach where Sarah is constantly in white while the invading woman is dressed all in black.

The performances are spot on. Alysson Pardis is great as Sarah and plays her with a vulnerability and yet strength, which is needed for the role. As the villain, Beatrice Dalle gives us a terrifying look at a woman unhinged. She is strong, scary, determined, and also completely insane, slaughtering human and animal alike, and with wild abandon.

One last aspect I need to bring up with this film is the amazing music and sound mixing. There is a beautiful use of piano in scenes where Sarah is reminiscing about her husband. Also, there is a great use of low notes, mixed with speaker distortion which causes the viewer to feel more uncomfortable than usual. The music is incredibly effective and is perfectly used in the film. The sound effects are mixed in at the best level possible so that we are given a film which is both beautiful and disgusting.

My review is not going to do this film justice but I hope that some part of you reads this, finds the premise interesting, and attempts to watch. I would recommend finding a copy that has subtitles as the English dub is less than stellar. To try and relate this to other films, I would say it is like a mix of The Strangers, Black Christmas, and Audition. If you are a horror fan, this film is most definitely for you and if you still aren’t sure, I have one hyphenated word for you: C-Section.

Image - IMDb

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