Heavily pregnant single mum-to-be Sarah (Paradis) is looking forward to a last quiet Christmas Eve on her own. The baby is due tomorrow, which surely is a good omen? But then a tall, dark woman (Dalle) knocks on the door. She wants the baby and will let nothing get in the way of her violent desire.
Part of the New French Extreme movement, this was a controversial film when released back in 2007, and it remains so. The levels of violence and gore are extreme throughout, but there’s also something archetypally unpleasant about the premise: a woman torturing a heavily pregnant woman. It says something about a film when you are glad when the killing starts because that feels like safer ground than the queasy head games and torture that have gone before.
Writer-directors Maury and Bustillo started the project with a fairly simple switch: what if the antagonist in a home invasion movie was a woman rather than a man? In following through on this idea, they create a movie of visceral horror as well as repulsive symbolic power.
A lot of reviews at the time said the film looked great. I am not convinced: the film looks boringly naturalistic at first; the subsequent hazy lighting is merely neo-noirish and the camera plods uninterestingly around Sarah’s house. The CGI sequences inside Sarah’s womb look a bit dated and actually detract from the horror of what is going on outside. Inside doesn’t look as good as High Tension (recently restored and also re-released by Second Sight) – a film that is primarily an homage to slasher films – but I think Inside is a better and more original film.
- New audio commentary by Anna Bogutskaya
- New audio commentary by Elena Lazic
- First Born: a new interview with co-writer/directors Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury
- Labour Pains: a new interview with actor Alysson Paradis
- A New Extreme: a new interview with producer Franck Ribière
- Womb Raider: a new interview with cinematographer Laurent Barès
- Reel Action: a new interview with stunt coordinator Emmanuel Lanzi
- The Birth of a Mother: Jenn Adams on Inside
Inside has to come with a warning: this is not a film for the faint-hearted, and even if you like on-screen gore, you may find this disturbing. Inside is definitely not a first-date movie.
Second Sight are doing great work with these New French Extreme re-releases – rescuing the films from the Curse of Tartan and other defunct UK home entertainment distributors. Let’s hope Martyrs and Calvaire are up next.
Inside is out on Blu-ray on 5 February 2024.