In the 1970s, America produced horror films that pushed the envelope. In addition to playing in U.S. grindhouses, these films played in French art houses and remain popular in that country to this day.
In the 2000s, America has ceased producing horror films that push the envelope. France is filling the void. A few years back, Alexandre Aja shocked the world with his ultra-gory slasher "Haute Tension" (or "High Tension"). Now, in 2008, tongues are certainly going to be wagging with the U.S. DVD release of the latest French horror classic, "Inside" (aka, "À l'intérieur").
France is getting in the business of taking themes from totally sick and bad early 1980s horror films ("Anthropophagus," "Nightmare") and actually making high quality films with top-notch acting and directing around them.
I dare call "Inside" a classic because it is such a damn good horror movie. It also happens to be one of the bloodiest things ever produced -- anywhere. If "High Tension" pushed the envelope, "Inside" rips it off. But once again, unlike so many horror films that go over the top with gore, "Inside" is actually a great movie -- splendidly acted, incredibly well plotted and utterly suspenseful -- an Alfred Hitchcock movie on crack.
Like "The Descent," the film opens with a car accident. Sara (Alysson Paradis) is pregnant behind the wheel and her husband is dead in the passenger seat. Flash forward a few months and Sara is at the hospital where she's getting ready to have an induced birth. She disturbs her mother by telling her that she wants to spend Christmas Eve at home alone. Riots are keeping the police busy that night as well.
A strange woman shows up and knocks on her front door, telling her she needs to use her phone. Sara tries to get rid of the woman, claiming her husand is "asleep". She'll need to use someone else's phone. Then the woman informs Sara that her husband can't be asleep, because he's already dead.
The stranger is referred to simply as "La Femme," and she's played with focus by Béatrice Dalle, an actress whose Barbara Steele-esque bone structure makes her a natural for horror movie. Wearing a black dress, La Femme has a willingness to kill, lie and torture to get what she wants: Sarah's unborn baby. "I want one," she tells Sarah from behind a locked door. "Who would want to fuck a maniac like you?" Sarah asks her.
Every one of Sarah's would-be rescuers -- basically the entire cast of the movie -- shows up, but turns out no match for La Femme, including the French police. The more that show up, the worse things seem to get, until Sarah ultimately has to revert into a bloodied wild woman -- even to the point of performing a tracheotomy on herself -- if she wants both her and her unborn baby to survive the night.
Directors Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury make the film's low budget work to their advantage by increasing the viewer's sense of claustrophobia. In addition to all-around excellent performances, especially from Dalle who would go down as a scream queen icon if she starred in more horror movies, the film boasts top-notch gore effects.
Released in 2008, by Dimension Extreme, the film is a must watch for horror fans. Bustillo and Maury have already been hired by Dimension to direct the "Hellraiser" remake, but it's doubtful they could ever make anything as primal and excellent as "Inside" that could make its way into American cineplexes.
The french Horror is coming back! Looks like "Baby Blood" meets "High Tension", but with a fresh story and gory highlights. That's the future of this genre and not the next dozens of Z-grade Zombieflicks.
Posted by horrorfan on April 1, 2008
I was lucky enough to catch this film early and it's awesome. The French know how to make these movies better than anyone else right now.
Posted by ManyAk on April 14, 2008
Incredible film, an absolute must-see to anyone who appreciates horror movies!
Posted by countvardulon on April 16, 2008
As one of the people who enjoyed 'A L'Interieur' and gave it a positive review, you might appreciate reading a differing opinion.
It can be found here: http://vardulon.blogspot.com/2008/04/open-letter-to-makers-of-inside.html
Thank you for your time.
Posted by JK on April 23, 2008
Couldn't have put it better than ::schwarz:: - baby blood meets high tension.
The french are kicking arse!!
Also see Frontiere(s)- it also rules. All with nice gore too.
Posted by jackie on April 28, 2008
Posted by RRV on May 30, 2008
I really enjoyed "Inside". It's the type of movie I like watching. Inside makes the Saw movies look like Mr. Rogers neighborhood..
Posted by PhantomClone·InX on October 10, 2009
This movie is absolutely horrifying. Suspenseful, disturbing, and bloody as hell, Inside might be the best horror film of the decade. It really pushes the envelope, and delivers on every level: scares, suspense, atmosphere, gore/blood. Also, the ending is so completely bleak and disturbing. The last shot of the film haunted me for days afterwards. I enjoyed this movie as much as High Tension, and found it to be much better than the highly overrated Frontier(s). Definitely a must-see for every horror fan.
Posted by David7613 on December 11, 2009
Sorry, I wasn't impressed. For first time directors, kudos! Never will I chastize someone for trying. However to be considered the new king or horror? Seriously? You guys are easily entertained. The plot is super simplistic, the acting in some points is really bad, the characters are utterly stupid , and it's not suspensful at all. There's no mystery (save the zombie part, still trying to make sense of that) and while it ends on a nearly poetic note, that's about the only part about the whole film. I'm not trying to beat up the directors for trying, rather I'm slamming the audience for a complete lack of imagination.
Posted by Everyone on April 21, 2010
Inside is hands down one of the best films of the last 20 years. It has an intensity that American films would never dream of.
Posted by Dan on April 21, 2010
I just wonder: WHY do you have to compare EVERY French horror movie to Haute Tension?? HT is one of the WORST movies I've EVER seen!! Dull, no logic, plot holes en masse....Aja is a hack!
Posted by TOm on May 12, 2010
i think this is the best film of all the french wave horror because as you say its storyline and acting is actually good high tension was a good movie but i think you have to try hard to like it and the more you think about it the more plot holes you can think of and the less enjoyable the whole thing is matyrs also was on par with this frontiers was good but kinda dissapointed me
Posted by Rasmus on May 27, 2010
Horror movies haven't scared me for many years, but this one? WTF? A+ all the way, best horror film I've seen in a long, long time.
Posted by LL on September 13, 2011
Inside - what a typical example of no-brain plots that insult their audience's intelligence. Yes, of course I am going to believe an untrained psycho woman can kill 7 people on her own including 3 armed policemen fighting against her. Next time, just make the sun rise from the west; I would feel my common sense has been less violated!
Good horror shouldn't just focus on the horror scene itself, good horror makes one feel genuinely scared in a real life-I don't feel scared after all these blooded scene, because I simply trust real policemen wouldn't make the nursery boy mistakes that were make in this film.
Posted by on December 28, 2011
I didn't understand the ending???
Posted by mr sane on April 17, 2012
The directors should be fined and jailed
Posted by Corps3 on August 10, 2012
This movie was great, full suspense, very atmospheric. There were points I questioned my ability to watch on. No one noticed the final scene looked a lot like the painting "whistlers mother" or at least that's how I interpreted it. Everyones got their own opinions
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Posted by nick on September 14, 2013
Haute tension is not full of plot holes. The entire film is told from the main charcters perception of events, So what you witness is not an accurate version of what really happens, the killer does not exist, the van does not exist etc......
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Rank this film on a '666 scale' of one to six (left to right). Based on 3193 votes.