Inside (À l'intérieur) is a 2007 home invasion movie out of France, and is credited with starting the “new wave” of French extremism horror, whatever that means. Two thirds of this particular operation had been intimidated off of watching it based solely on its reputation. So has the movie earned its reputation? Continue on down to find out, but watch out for spoilers, those will happen.
Reviewed by: Jack
At its core, Inside (I’m just going to call it Inside because I can’t keep track of all those alt-codes for the accents) is a pretty standard home invasion movie. A young pregnant woman, Sarah (Alysson Paradis), is involved in a car accident that kills her husband. Sometime later, she’s alone on Christmas Eve getting ready to give birth in the morning, when there’s an ominous knock on her door accompanied by the stranger’s plea to use her phone. Sensibly, our heroine refuses to let the stranger in, citing her sleeping husband. When the unknown stranger knows Sarah’s name and tells her that her husband is dead, we know something’s amiss.
The stranger then menaces Sarah, appearing in various windows, until we see the stranger’s silhouette in the backdoor through a full glass door (the stranger is referred to in the movie’s credits as “the woman”). When the woman tries to punch her way into the house Sarah calls the police who respond, but not until the woman has run off into the darkness.
After the police search the area and leave, the Sarah falls into a heavy sleep, at which point the woman returns and enters Sarah’s home and starts creepilly touching Sarah and looking around the house (it was a very deep sleep). Sarah doesn’t wake up until the woman starts cutting open her belly with a pair of scissors, at which point she’s able to fight her off and lock herself in the bathroom.
From here, things escalate. Various people, from the police checking in to Sarah’s boss, enter the house, only to be initially tricked, and then later brutally murdered by the woman. Most notably is Sarah’s mom, who heads upstairs in search of Sarah, and is then stabbed in the neck with a knitting needle by Sarah who is in full Kevin McAllister mode.
Eventually, Sarah fights her way out and blowtorches the woman in the face with a makeshift flamethrower. Before she can kill the woman, we learn that the woman was the other party involved in the car accident, and that she lost her baby, leading her to stalk Sarah to take hers. Sarah starts to go into labor, when that isn’t going to work, the woman picks up her trusty scissors, and completes the nightmarish c-section she had originally intended to effect. The movie ends with Sarah dead and the woman cradling her new child. Light summertime fun.
What the Movie Does Right
The classic home invasion elements are some of the best I’ve ever seen. The woman’s initial pursuit of Sarah is legitimately terrifying, and the scene where she’s just standing in the backyard only to punch the glass door had me checking my locks and yard before bed.
The effects on the slaughter-fest are, for the most part, pretty strong as well. The scenes where the woman is cutting into Sarah’s belly are are horrifying, and the rest of the gore is pretty good as well with some minor exceptions that will be mentioned below.
*** Editor's Note: [REDACTED IMAGE] Come on guys. You knew this one was getting pulled. ***
The sound effects are also pretty cool, and they use unique sound effects for the various characters as a sort of theme.
What the Movie Does Wrong
While most of the gore effects are good, the effects are not universally strong. One particularly objectionable choice was that they repeatedly cut to a CGI fetus being jostled around when Sarah is being attacked. It’s a weird choice, and presumably meant to remind you of the stakes, but frankly, the stakes are pretty clear with Sarah alone, as she’s a good actress and very pregnant, and the cuts to the baby only serve to take me out of the film. The CG is not great, either. It looks like an episode of House.
And the flamethrower effect looks pretty bad, too. While the gore looks downright great, they did less well everywhere else. There’s also some questionable anatomy that makes you question things, too. I struggle to believe that you could easily pierce someone’s skull with a pair of scissors brought to the forehead, and the woman slides through one like butter.
Story: 4 - The story here is decent, if a pretty straight up and down home invasion story. It gets some points for playing with it a little by making the stranger a woman seeking Sarah’s baby after the death of her own, but it loses some points for some of the weaker aspects of the script.
World-Building / Immersion: 5 - Right down the middle here. Parts of it are as immersive as a movie can be, while others take you all the way out.
Scare-Factor: 8 - This is one of the scarier movies I’ve seen, and on a few different axes. The movie is known for its gore, but should be just as known for some of the best home invasion elements done.
Effects (or Judicious Lack Thereof): 5 - Again, it’s a tale of two ratings here. Some of the gore looks great. Some of the other effects look downright terrible.
Overall: 6 - this is a movie that more people should see. The gore isn’t as bad or bloodcurdling as people seem to think, and the other elements of the movie are wholly and unjustly not discussed.