(As always, I give you the warning: May contain spoilers, yada yada, yada. I like candy canes. NOM NOM NOM...)
I wanted to review this movie the moment I heard Spooky Vegan mention it on her holiday movie list. I wanted to find a holiday movie that was different than the others out there. It looked pretty intense, and I do enjoy the intense films as pallet cleansers when I've watched way too much schlock. And trust me, the holidays are filled with schlocky movies.
This one isn't one of them.
Inside – À l’intérieur is a French film by directors Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo. From the outside there isn't much to it. It's a movie about a pregnant woman fighting for survival when a female intruder breaks in on Christmas Eve. But from the inside, there is so much more. It's a story about women's darkness. In the tradition of great horror films about women's darkness, Inside doesn't hold back. Such classics that fall into this category for me are: I Spit On Your Grave, Grace, Teeth, and Ginger Snaps. You could even argue Martyrs is woman's horror, because woman are targeted as victims specifically by their brutalizers because of how they take pain. Woman do endure pain differently from men. They're strength comes from endurance you might say. How else could they survive normal childbirth?
I enjoy watching films that make commentary on the genders, intentionally or not. I find them fascinating. I recently reviewed I Saw The Devil, and mentioned how it was about male darkness. The females in that film were only there to further the relationship between the two male characters. With Inside, it's the other way around. While you could argue at it's heart Inside is about vengeance (at least on the part of the unnamed woman character I shall from now on refer to as BITCHFACE) it's really not. I didn't feel Bitchface was actually out for vengeance, even when the big reveal happens. Because to me, Bitchface was after Sarah for one thing: The baby. And though Bitchface was brutal and terrible throughout the film, it seemed more of a way to show the unraveling of her broken mind than anything else.
Bitchface and Sarah (the preggers lady) are both wounded women. The beginning of the film just sets the scene for us when we witness Sarah's car accident. Her life is shattered. She's scarred up, pregnant, and grieving for her husband. They clearly once were excited for the baby, and a painful scene where Sarah looks at pictures of her husband shows a tenderness she doesn't have for most the movie towards her child. She's pretty broken up about stuff, and you can totally sympathize with her "I hate Christmas, fuck off world!" attitude. At least I did. So in her depression she locks herself away on Christmas Eve, and that's when the fun really starts.
Bitchface shows up, another broken woman who is clearly mental, and starts harassing Sarah. She knows too much about her, and won't let up. Sarah calls the cops, and well, as Bitchface starts invading, more and more people die. Sarah's mother, Sarah's friend/employer who was gonna take her to the hospital, cops die, and some poor sap who got arrested and was in the cop car when the bad shit went down. Sarah's mother gets killed by Sarah herself by accident, when Sarah thinks she's Bitchface trying to get at her. I felt a little sorry for Sarah when I saw the look of horror on her face after killing her own mother. Dayum that be some crazy shit!
This movie is gory, that's for sure. Brutal, no holds barred gorefest. The use of darkness is also rather interesting at times, especially in a few scenes. But I did find the movie was too dark for too long. I hate when I can't see shit in movies! If the darkness is used properly, and in some scenes it had a purpose, then I don't mind so much. But the movie was mostly darkness! It drove me up the wall! I have bad eyes as it is, making me squint throughout an entire movie is LAME. The use of sound and music was interesting, and I was glad to see they didn't over use sound effects. So honestly, the only real complaint I have about this movie is the darkness thing. Otherwise it's a solid movie.
And yeah, the movie doesn't focus on holiday gimmicks and Christmas BS, and that's what makes it great. It's a backdrop more than anything, and I liked it for that. So if you want a non-traditional, gorefest about women fighting over a baby, watch this movie.