Film Review - Inside

Starring - Beatrice Dalle, Alysson Paradis | Directed by Julien Maury, Alexandre Bustillo | Genius Products DVD WS Unrated 82 min 2007

Review By Eric Shonborn

Sarah is a young, pregnant photojournalist who lost her husband in a fatal car accident. She survives, but has become morose and detached from all those around her. With the baby due on Christmas Day, she spends Christmas Eve alone, until a mysterious stranger shows up uninvited, setting off a terrifying and brutal night as Sarah must not only fight for her life, but the life of her unborn child.

As a person who has seen a lot of horror movies, there is not much that makes me cringe, and I've rarely been scared by anything in a movie. Yet, as a grown man in his mid-30s, I constantly found myself on the edge of my seat, biting my knuckles, cringing and covering my face throughout the duration of INSIDE. This, along with HAUTE TENSION and MARTYRS, are standout examples of the amazing types of horror films that have come out of France in the past ten years. HAUTE TENSION is two-thirds of a fantastic slasher movie ruined by it's idiotic twist ending, and I stand by my opinion that MARTYRS may be one of the best, most brutal and terrifying horror movies ever made. INSIDE comes incredibly close to challenging MARTYRS for that position.

From the start, INSIDE is a slow - but necessarily so - paced movie, introducing us to the main character in the middle of a tragic event, and then letting us see her in the emotional aftermath, trying to move on with her life, but carrying the reminder of what she lost inside of her. Throughout these scenes, the tension and mystery and drama build slowly and steadily as we are introduced to "La Femme," Sarah's obsessive stalker. Without ever spilling an ounce of blood, La Femme and the movie itself pull of some truly unsettling, scary and creepy scenes. Then the bloodshed begins.

The tension is built up to such a degree that the onset of the brutal violence that takes place is almost a relief. That feeling is fleeting, though, as the violence escalates, the tension ratchets up a couple of notches as well. INSIDE may be the single most brutally violent, gory and nerve-wracking movie I've ever witnessed and once it starts, it rarely lets up. Every pause and every breath taken is simply a crescendo to an even more horrific act to come.

The two female leads are fantastic actresses, though I sometimes find it hard to gage what is good or not in a foreign language film. While mostly deadly serious, there are moments of absolute pitch black humor on display, and a moment toward the climax of the film that actually made me cheer out loud, reminiscent of the moment from EVIL DEAD II when Ash assembles his chainsaw arm. Groovy.

While most of the gore and effects are practical and incredibly well done, there are two instances of CGI which ruin what is pretty much a perfect horror film. One of them reoccurs throughout the movie, and is an effect that is never needed and it never adds to the story and takes you out of it. There will something incredibly tense and terrifying happening when suddenly, there's a giant CGI baby floating in the womb, reacting to what is happening outside. It's ridiculous and happens over and over.

The DVD is packaged with some extras, including an extensive "Making of," and trailers for this movie and others.

If you love horror movies and can stomach some of the most brutally intense violence ever filmed, INSIDE is a must-see.