Tuesday, April 7, 2015

#1,695. Inside (2007)

Directed By: Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury

Starring: Alysson Paradis, Jean-Baptiste Tabourin, Claude Lulé

Trivia: This movie won the 2008 Fright Meter Award for Best Horror Movie

Some of the most brutal horror films of the last 10 years have come out of France, with movies like High Tension, Frontier(s), and the controversial Martyrs leading the way. Standing above them all is 2007’s Inside, a harrowing tale of home invasion that’s sure to keep you up at night, wondering if anyone’s lurking in the shadows of your own bedroom.

Sarah (Alysson Paradis), who’s nine months pregnant, is still reeling from the death of her husband, who was killed in a car accident several months earlier. The psychological scars of this devastating event have stayed with her, and not even the impending birth of her first child, or the fact that Christmas is fast approaching, can shake her from her depressive funk. On Christmas Eve, Sarah (who’s scheduled to go into the hospital the next day to deliver her baby) settles in for what she hopes will be a peaceful night, only to be startled by a sudden knock at the door. The woman standing on her front porch (played by Béatrice Dalle) refuses to identify herself, causing a panicked Sarah to call the police. By the time the cops arrive, the woman is gone, but as Sarah will soon discover, her unwanted visitor isn’t going to go quietly into the night. Who is this woman, and what does she want? The answer to both these questions will surely shock you.

The violence in Inside is as sudden as it is graphic (late in the movie, Sarah and her assailant battle each other with a series of household items, including an aerosol can that one of them quickly transforms into a blowtorch), but the quieter scenes are just as disturbing. By the time the woman gains entrance to the house, Sarah is resting in bed. As she does so, the mysterious attacker stands above her… quietly… wielding a pair of scissors. For a few seconds, the woman is perfectly still, watching Sarah, who doesn’t realize she’s no longer alone. Throughout this entire scene, directors Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo keep the woman’s face hidden in the darkness, never revealing either her identity or the emotions she’s feeling. Trust me when I tell you that this brief sequence alone is enough to give you the willies!

By their very nature, home invasion films are designed to shake your confidence in what is most people’s #1 comfort zone: their own house. With Inside, the filmmakers take this concept to its extreme, presenting us with a determined protagonist whose motives, which remain a mystery through much of the movie, drive her to break into Sarah’s home and, once there, commit a series of grisly crimes (over the course of this terrible evening, several people arrive at Sarah’s house to check up on her, some of whom become victims themselves). A visceral, often troubling motion picture experience, Inside will shake you to your very core.

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