With the introduction of the Saw franchise into the mainstream film mentality a few years ago, along with Eli Roth’s Hostel movies, a new type of horror, commonly referred to as torture porn, has been introduced. Constantly one-upping each other in terms of gore and violence, these films seek to disturb the viewer not with cleverly executed psychoses, but with elaborate shows of gruesome, bloody mayhem. First time French directors Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury have created just such one-upmanship in the newly released “pregnant woman gets tortured” gorefest Inside.
With a bleak colorÂ palette and a bleaker plotline, Inside opens quickly with aÂ close-up on aÂ pregnant Alysson ParadisÂ bathed in an impossible amount of blood after a head-on colision. Jumping four months later, we see Sarah (Paradis) speaking to a doctor on the eve of her delivery. We discover through various expositional methods that her husband/boyfriend died in the crash and that her boss will be picking her up early the next morning to bring her in for an induced labor. As she’s leaving, the doctor quietly gives the slightly over-obvious foreshadowing for what we are to expect as an audience: “Enjoy your last night of peace and quiet.”
Shortly after arriving home and preparing herself for bed, Sarah receives a knock at her door andÂ the audience is introduced toÂ a haunting Beatrice Dalle skulking in the shadows. At this point there’s still quite a bit of hope for the film as Sarah immediately calls the police and explains to them thatÂ a strange womanÂ has appeared outside her house.Â The policeÂ find nothing, set upÂ her house as a stop on their nightly tour, and continue on their way.Â A few hours later as Sarah isÂ sleeping soundly,Â the mystery woman reappears, clothed in a dark gothicÂ dress and corset (a bit of overkill here) and prepares to physically remove the baby from Sarah with a pair of monstrous scissors. And it just gets gorier from here. Sarah holes up in a bathroom screaming while the woman spends the rest of the movie trying to get to her, and dispatching variousÂ would-be rescuersÂ with patient dedication.
The main problem here is that Inside can’t quite rise above it’s gimmickry and become a horror movie in its own right. Instead, it’s content with drenching the walls with as much blood as possible and lingering for extended periods on our screaming, bleeding, pregnant heroinne. And though the film opens with a morose sense of realism, with each new character introduction that line is pushed back a little further. In fact, in the final few minutes, when a slight twist starts to give the movie a little heart, it suddenly morphs into something like a Night of the Living Dead knockoff. Incidentally, while the final scene does offer a new level of grotesqueness, the rest of the movie features simpleÂ blood-squirting wounds and eye-gougings, relatively familiar territory for any torture porn fan.
Zach’s Rating: C-
Perfect For: Those looking to be disgusted rather than terrified
Stay Away if: You’re looking for something other than gore-sploitation
To purchase Inside, visit Amazon