June 26th, 2008



If Asia (Japan and Korea in particular) was the epicenter for the revitalization of creepy supernatural horror movies in the late '90s and early '00s, then France seems to be the epicenter right now for intense, extremely violent, survival-type horror movies, mostly without supernatural elements. From Irreversible to High Tension, In My Skin, Baise Moi and beyond, no one's doing bloodletting these days like French filmmakers.

And now comes Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury's Inside. It's very good, quite amazing actually, but...hoo boy. I don't think there's a single scene in the last hour of the film that isn't blood drenched. Inside stars Alysson Paradis (Johnny Depp's sister-in-law!) as Sarah, a pregnant woman home alone on the night before she's to give birth at the hospital. Her face still bearing the scars from the car accident that took her husband's life four months before, Sarah is depressed and, to the filmmakers' credit, completely unsympathetic. She calls one of the nurses at the hospital a "twat" and has grown resentful of the baby inside her.

Beatrice Dalle also stars as La Femme, the mysterious home intruder hellbent on cutting the fetus out of Sarah's stomach with a scarily huge pair of scissors and keeping the baby for herself.

The last ten minutes? Fucking crazy! To say the filmmakers make some bold choices is an understatement. You'll probably guess the hidden connection between Sarah and La Femme long before the movie clues you in, but as for the rest of it, it's a tour de force of brutality. And this is coming from someone who always values story, character and atmosphere over gore!

While I highly recommend the movie -- yes, it's violent as hell, but it's also very much a mood piece, with an amazing score by François Eudes -- I think dean_italiano, blue_underarms and anyone else who has just given birth, is pregnant or about to become pregnant really, really ought to skip it. Trust me. Especially with occasional glimpses inside Sarah's womb to show the fetus reacting to the trauma Sarah is experiencing.

"Brutal" doesn't seem like a strong enough word for this movie, and "rent it from Netflix" doesn't seem like strong enough praise, but I really thought Inside was something special, in its own blood soaked way. Check it out if you've got the, uh, stomach for it.