‘Inside’ thinks outside the box

“Inside” sets the tone early on, as the camera zooms in on a horrendous and bloody automobile-accident. So bloody, in fact, it is hard to even see the faces of those in the car’s seat.

Flash forward four months, we find Sarah, played by Alysson Paradis, has lost her husband in an automobile accident. Pregnant and ready to give birth at any moment, the Christmas-hating professional photographer decides on Christmas Eve she will induce labor on that Christmas Day. Her doctor orders her to stay in bed for the night and arrive early the next morning for the procedure, but not before the film does a little foreshadowing with such lines as “enjoy your last night of peace and quiet.”

Sarah goes home, and moments after turning off the lights to sleep away the wait for the operation, a woman who wants her baby begins to terrorize her. First, she does the usual stalking. Knocking on the door, being a menace, knocking on windows, etc. But once Sarah calls the authorities, the woman, played by Beatrice Dalle, ups the ante and makes everything a bit more bloody in the process.

The French film is one of the goriest films to be made in recent memory, but for every pint of blood it spills, it seems to have just as much suspense and thrills that go with it. The woman terrorizing Sarah is especially creepy and truly makes the film what it is. Wearing the usual killer outfit of a black, cloak-like thing, she is made even more terrifying as the film shows her face from the get-go. The audience gets to see in one of the films earliest sequences, that as she holds a scissors to the stomach of the pregnant Sarah, she has no facial expression or emotions when it comes time to doing something so disturbing.

The use of silence and timing is done exceptionally well. For most of the movie, no musical score is used, but this works exceptionally well when considering most of the film revolves around Sarah hiding and the woman trying to find her. It brings the viewer closer to Sarah, forcing the audience to listen just as intently as she does. And adding to the film’s long list of good decisions is the choice to milk the suspense and have these sequences of silence last long periods of time instead of going for the typical one-second, jump-out-and-scare tactic.

What “Inside” does best is make a name for itself. It does its best to avoid cliché horror film tactics, and for the most part, it succeeds. Normally a horrible horror movie will give its characters a bland background, as if those involved feel they can pull the wool over the viewers’ eyes and make them think they really cared about character development. “Inside” basically doesn’t take itself seriously enough to even warrant a background or story for Sarah. She is a pregnant woman being bullied by a woman who wants to cut her baby out. That’s the film’s premise, plain and simple. And because it recognizes this and uses what it has to its advantage, it becomes probably better than it really should be, and the viewer is the one who truly is able to capitalize off of it.

Scott Hansen