26th Aug2017

Frightfest 2017: ‘Inside’ Review

by Philip Rogers

Stars: Rachel Nichols, Laura Harring, Stany Coppet, Andrea Tivadar, Richard Felix, Craig Stevenson, Maarten Swaan, Steve Howard, David Chevers | Written by Jaume Balagueró, Alexandre Bustillo , Manu Díez | Directed by Miguel Ángel Vivas


After surviving a car crash in which her husband was killed months earlier, Alysson Paradis (Rachel Nichols) is living at home alone, its Christmas eve and she is now in the third trimester of pregnancy. When a woman knocks at the door, asking to use the phone, she refuses because she doesn’t want to wake her husband. When the woman confirms that she knows that Alysson is alone and demands to come into the house, she calls the police. By the time they arrive, the woman has gone. After checking the area they advise that it is unlikely that she will come back, but a patrol car will return later to make sure she is ok.

Alysson goes to sleep, only to wake with the woman now inside the house. What follows is a cat and mouse fight for survival.  Alysson must fight for her life, as the woman’s true motive becomes clear and she will stop at nothing to get her hands on Alysson’s baby.

Inside is a remake of the French horror À l’intérieur – which translates as “Inside”. Upon its release, the original was categorised as part of the New French Extremity (or New French Extremism), which is a collection of films which are infamous for pushing the boundaries of extreme cinema through sex and/or violence. À l’intérieur is a prime example of the later with its raw look and extreme violence which is not for the faint hearted.

Remakes may not appeal to everyone, but Inside will appeal to a wider audience, who may find the images of the original too unsettling.  Although the film follows the same story, Miguel Ángel Vivas has created different feel with his remake, focusing more on building a tense atmosphere, than the violence. It may a be a simple premise as a home invasion slasher, with a lot of the film focus around one room, but a combination of a great score, Miguel’s visual direction and strong performances from the films lead actresses keeps you on edge wondering what is going to happen next.

Rachel Nichols does an amazing job as Alysson, who has a lonely vulnerability to her character, mourning the loss of her husband and being so late in her pregnancy. When she comes under attacked you feel a sense of susceptibility, as can’t help but fear for both Alysson and the baby.

The antagonist in the film is played by Laura Harring, who’s defiance to get what she wants makes her character chilling, as she seems devoid of any empathy towards Alysson or any of the other unsuspecting victims who may get in her way. If anything, she takes pleasure in her violent actions, in one instance continuing to torment her victim as she slowly kills him. Despite her size she is extremely dominant on the screen, which helps to make the kills genuinely effective. Director Miguel Ángel Vivas may have cut down on the violence compared to the original, but when the deaths do occur, the scenes are still brutal and extremely bloody.

One of the most effective ideas in Inside is Alysson’s disability following the car crash, which means she needs to wear a hearing aid. The damage caused to her ear means when the aid is removed, all she can hear is a heartbeat sound. It puts Alysson at a further disadvantage, adding to the tension where it impedes her judgement and leads to a cruel fatal twist. The heartbeat also gives an emotional connection, as you sense that it is the baby’s heartbeat you can hear, which further adds to the intensity of the moment.

Inside is an impressive remake which has been repackaged to suit a wider audience. Fans of the original may feel that the violence has been toned down, but the build-up of tension and stylised camerawork more than make up for this and help the film to stand out on its own. Whether you’re a fan of the original or looking for something new, this is a film not to be missed.

**** 4/5


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