Movie News & Reviews

French horror 'Inside' proves horrible

Apparently there's a real movement going on in the French horror sceneright now, which is news to me because I always thought everywhere wasAmerica.

So last year, I called up the president of France and was like"Hey, I'm some guy, why don't you send me a DVD."

Cruelly, they don't let you watch many movies in prison. (Your viewingoptions are pretty much watching that dude sweat on a bench for sixstraight hours, which I would give a B- at best.) But what do youknow? By the time the government released me, 2007's Inside hadbeen waiting in my mailbox for months.

Four months ago, Alysson Paradis got in a car crash that killed herhusband. She was pregnant at the time; now the baby's due the nextday. Before it can be delivered, she's attacked at home by BeatriceDalle, a vicious stranger who wants to take her unborn child.

Um. Most of the movies I cover here are ones I've already seen — I gointo them knowing they're good (or sometimes very, very bad) and witha pretty solid idea of how I feel about them. I watched Insidefor the first time two hours ago and am only now recovering from thedisgust-coma it knocked me into.

Describing it in 10 words or fewer, I would just repeat the word"violence" 10 times, but only because I'm not allowed to do anyswearing. Compiling a veritable laundry list of places you wouldn'twant to be stabbed — eyes, ears, throat, knees, and groin, forstarters — the movie rolls out some of the severest pokey trauma sincethe Great Porcupine Rebellion of 1827.

But codirectors Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury aren't just aboutrevolting nasty violence ("I can't remember the last time I watched amovie with my hands over my eyes this much," my roommate said duringthe credits). Inside may be their first movie, but it has thefeel of something much more assured, establishing a depressiveattitude right off the bat before lunging into relentless suspenseheightened by strong sound editing and a Shyamalan-esque use of theentire frame.

That's right, this stuff is so messed up it just made me compliment M.Night Shyamalan. I don't even know what to do about that right now.But that's what happens when you watch 80 minutes of graphic domesticwarfare that's almost more a test of will than it is ahorror-thriller.

All you need to know about Inside is whetherwatching someone get jabbed through the eye by a giant knitting needleis something that would make you turn the TV off.

No? Rent away.

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