Watching INSIDE is akin to running a marathon, albeit a marathon through a house of horrors so unimaginable that it's difficult to breathe during or afterward. Like ILS (THEM), and FRONTIER(S), it is a film that is relentless in its pacing, and unflinching in its horrific brutality. Another win for the French horror filmmakers, I guess.

INSIDE is without a doubt one of the more disturbing films in recent years, concerning not only its subject matter, but how far it is willing to push the envelope with its violence and cruelty. As a horror film, it succeeds on every level, creating an atmosphere of dread that becomes blood-soaked very quickly, and with a series of events and an ending that left me, and no doubt will leave you, feeling like I had been bludgeoned and stabbed myself. I haven't felt as uncomfortable watching a film in quite a long time.

The film is about a mother-to-be named Sarah who, four months after a car crash killed her husband, is about to deliver her baby. The day before she is to deliver, a strange woman comes to her door, knowing
Sarah's name, and that her husband is dead. Sarah calls the cops, but the woman is nowhere to be seen. Promising to check in periodically, the officers leave Sarah to go to sleep, assuring her the woman probably fled when they show up. What follows the police, I'll leave you to discover, though it's all very bloody, elaborate, and utterly realistic.

Apart from the violence, there is some interminable suspense and mystery that oozes through the film, mostly regarding the woman, who she is, and when she will strike. Beatrice Dalle, who plays the woman - that's the character's name, as she is never given one proper - is no stranger to French horror, having herself starred as the woman afflicted with cannibalistic desires in TROUBLE EVERY DAY. Here she plays a largely emotionless killer who is obviously faced with bouts of rage and denial about what she is doing and what has happened to her (especially noticeable after the "twist").

Speaking of that twist, I think I should point out how well it is executed within the film's story, and how it makes perfect sense, but is something that isn't put together far in advance based on the clues of what the woman says or does to Sarah. Once it hits, though, before the film's climax, it makes everything that happens afterward a bit more horrific, and after an hour of being subjected to things I thought I would never find anything more terrifying than, this one thing pushes the last bit just that much farther. I was truly disturbed by the film's finale. I'll leave it at that, because to say anything more would give it away.

INSIDE is not a film that should be seen by everyone. In fact, I would wager that it would not appeal to the vast majority of viewers. But for a horror fan, or a fan of films that disturb, provoke and leave one's head filled for days afterward with questions, images, and just in general shake someone to the core, this one's for you.

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