Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Seul à la Maison: Inside (2007) Review

In most modern French horror cinema you can count on two things:
1) nut-tearingly extreme violence.
2) a genre-bending narrative u-turn somewhere throughout the movie.

Bucking this trend is Inside, which delivers the requisite everyone's-wearing-their-guts-on-the-outside violence but rather subversively doesn't suddenly become a completely different movie halfway through proceedings. It starts as a home invasion movie and, rather refreshingly (for a French horror film), finishes as one.

A pregnant Sarah (Alysson Paradis) and her unborn baby survive a car accident that claims the life of her husband. Not surprisingly, this puts her in a pretty depressed state of mind. During the last four months of her pregnancy she distances herself physically and emotionally from the family and friends who try to support her through the difficult time. So much so that, with her pregnancy just about full term, she finds herself home alone on Christmas Eve.

But this ain’t no Home Alone...

The peace and quiet Sarah is "enjoying" is rudely interrupted by a stranger at her door. Sarah wisely doesn't open the door to the stranger who claims to have broken down and needs access to her phone. She is polite but refuses the stranger entry into her house. The stranger is polite but ominously insistent that she come in and use the phone. The stand-off becomes increasing tense before the stranger reveals knowledge of Sarah that suggests she is no stranger at all.

What ensues is a gripping, intense, home invasion movie with all the disturbingly violent trimmings we've come to expect from French horror.

"Santa?... Santa, is that you?"

As an aside, if Inside ever gets remade in the US (actually scratch that... when Inside gets remade in the US) I'd love to see Macaulay Culkin in a protagonist role getting brutally slain.

With the possible exception of one brief moment shortly before the film's conclusion that I had trouble making sense of, everything else is played pretty straight. It's a good old fashioned horror narrative told with plenty of good new fashioned violence. It's suspenseful and gruesome in equal measure. The ending is unsurprising, but still quite disturbing, which is exactly how this sort of thing should conclude.

1 comment:

  1. With all the build-up for Inside, I couldn't help but be a little disappointed, initially. My only real problem was that a few subpar special effects totally took me out of the story. However, the more I think about it, the more I like it. And the final shot of the film is haunting.