MOVIE OF THE WEEK #2: Inside
Inside (2007), written and directed by Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury, is a French body horror film about a pregnant widow (Alysson Paradis) and a mysterious woman in a black dress (Béatrice Dalle) who wants to take her baby. And when I say “take”, I mean take. With scissors. Inside certainly isn’t for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach, but if you’re looking for something that’ll really hit a nerve then look no further.
It’s a disturbing, graphic movie, but it’s smarter than it probably sounds. Inside never feels like shock value for shock value’s sake thanks, I think, to its really strong script. A sparse, minimalist story with almost no dialogue, Inside still manages to create two strong leads by letting the actions of scrappy, strong-willed Sarah and the terrifying La Femme do the talking for them. Inside subverts typical horror tropes by making its protagonist and antagonist equals and pitting them in a fight that goes back and forth until the bitter, bloody end. This balance makes the film even scarier, believe it or not. The dread just rises and rises as the stakes get higher with every retaliation, culminating in one of modern horror’s most epic climaxes.
In a lot of ways, I’d liken Inside to John Carpenter’s horror classic Halloween. Inside stoops to much darker depths, sure, but something about it can’t seem to help but recall that all-too-familiar Michael Myers brand of terror. Maybe it’s the claustrophobic nature of the film. Maybe it’s the pace, somehow slow burning and frenetic all at once. Or maybe it’s the villain: La Femme seems every bit as hollow… as soulless… as The Shape. Whatever it is, it works, and it’s something that new horror needs a lot more of.