"A L'interieur"(2007)d/Alexandre Bustillo,Julien Maury
If we were discussing film over pints o'noggin nectar at the hive,and you happened to ask,"Hey B.W.,What nation has consistently churned out the most solid genre efforts in the past decade?",there's really only one answer I could,in good conscience,give you.Heavily influenced and certainly inspired by the glory days of mother Italia(Dove vadalo, il mio paese, il mio amore?),the French currently hold sway over the horror throne.While countries like America seem content in rolling in the filth of their own shoddy remakes(and other countries recent hits,using the limp argument that most Americans can't be bothered to read subtitles.Sadly,this is probably true,and judging by the fact that Yogi Bear made sixteen million this past weekend at the U.S. box office,most Americans wouldn't know a good movie if you beat them to death with the cannister it came in.),France has been the model of cinematic consistency,regularly bringing solid efforts to a world stage.To the "New Wave" of filmmakers that wave the Bleu Blanc Rouge,I say:Je salue les rois français et je suis aimable pour leur or de cinéma. Tonight's entry is one of the strongest pieces of evidence towards that sentiment yet.Co-directors Bustillo and Maury have certainly added their names to the growing list of French genre masters with their very first effort,a tension-filled exercise in solitary fear that serves up top tier grue by the ladleful.Powerful performances are given by the two leading ladies in roles I highly doubt we could ever expect to see top Hollywood actresses agree to portray.The camera is wielded brilliantly here,and the lighting is as much to blame for the distressing tone the viewer is assaulted with throughout the picture.I can only imagine further great work from these gentlemen,and I eagerly await their next morbid masterpiece.If you haven't seen this one yet,stop here,and get your hands on it immediately,because I'm forced to reveal spoilers in the synopsis,and you're gonna want to experience Inside completely free of prejudices,trust me.Allons-y avant... "Is that La Chapelle Grand Cru?Funny,I didn't order womb service..." A woman's voice comforts her unborn child,who floats peacefully in amniotic fluid before a sudden blow turns the liquid red.Inside a car that's been totalled,a bloodied pregnant woman named Sarah(Alysson Paradis)groggily comes to,still seatbelted into the twisted wreck,with her lifeless passenger/husband by her side.Months later she undergoes a final ultrasound of the child on Christmas Eve,with a planned induction of labor scheduled for Christmas Day.The young widow gives the house keys to her boss at the park so that he can pick her up in the morning.The incapacitated photographer retires to her flat for an uneventful evening of picture developing and rest,when she's visited by a strange woman(Béatrice Dalle) in the night,who claims to have broken down up the road,but when denied entrance reveals she knows micro-details about Sarah's personal life,causing the disturbed young woman to phone the authorities.She takes some blurry pictures of the dark figure who spiderwebs one of the windows with her fist before disappearing back into the night.The cops come round to give the premises the once over,and inadvertently let the woman in under their noses.Once Sarah collapses in her bed and dozes off,the woman emerges from the shadows with a jar full of alcohol and a large pair of fabric scissors,with which she begins to puncture the expectant mother's navel,waking her from her slumber in a sudden panic,as the woman slashes her across the face with the shears.She locks herself in the bathroom amidst the screaming,kicking tantrums of her crazed attacker just outside the door.The bloodied mother-to-be and her unborn son are safe...for the moment. Did anybody see where I left the good pair of scissors?Wegman's has some good coupons in their Sunday circular. The woman's frantic attempts to gain entry to the bathroom are interrupted by Sarah's boss,who she invites in for a drink,posing as his employee's mother,but when the girl's real forebearer arrives and goes upstairs to check on her daughter,she's accidentally skewered through the carotid artery by a hair pick,red neckspray painting the hallway walls as she sputters to the floor,dead.Meanwhile,Sarah's gap-toothed keeper slays the boss,running him through with scissors before finally impaling his face through a pillow.When a squad car with three officers and an rioting muslim perp they've arrested arrives for a late-night check-in,some heavy duty things go down.The woman garter stitches one cop's eye and throat with an impossibly long knitting needle before blowing a second cop's grey stuff all over the bathroom just as he reaches Sarah.She rewards the battered mother-to-be by crucifying the woman's hand to a wall through a hole in the bathroom door with her scissors.The third cop hooks his nervous arrestee to a leash and gives him a riot gun and flashlight as they rush in to investigate the commotion and gun shots inside.The woman flips the circuit breaker and steals the riot gun,sending a brain-smashing rubber round into the cop's head from point blank range,then stakes the teenager through the face with her scissors.In the ultimate cat fight between the desperate ladies,some serious wince-inducing damage is inflicted by both women.The pregnant victim gets lambasted with a toaster and soccer kicked around the kitchen floor before blowtorching her attacker's grillpiece as she lights a cigarette with an aerosol can.She fashions a pipe and butcher knife into a makeshift telescoping spear to hunt for the flame-deformed bitch in the shadows,only to learn that the woman was in the other car in the accident,also pregnant,but ultimately losing her unborn child as a result.The riot gunned lawman,blinded and brain damaged from the shot,rises from the ground and mistakenly attacks Sarah in his deranged delirium,but the woman rushes to her aid and stakes him through the chest with Sarah's spear.The cumulative effects of the evening's mad events sends Sarah into labor on the steps,exclaiming that the baby is stuck,earning her the recipiency of a d.i.y. caesarian section with shears,courtesy of the burn-scarred intruder,amidst tearful pleas for mommy.Finally,we see the battle-wounded psycho comforting the newborn's cries in a rocking chair on the crime scene,as the lifeless eyes of his mother look endlessly forward from the stairs. Quite possibly the finest makeshift aerosol can flamethrower scene since Island of Death(1975). The buzz around the internet on tonight's feature is wildly positive,and rightfully so.The brief intra-womb cgi sequences throughout are pretty well-done,and the gore effects also achieve technical brilliance on a level of realism matched by few in the industry,even today.The tributes to genre classics like Halloween(1978)and Black Christmas(1974) are subtle and well-played.Bare-knuckle tension gives way to over-the-top ultra-violence in a blend that should leave genre fans happily spent as the end titles roll.Bustillo,Maury,and Dalle pair up once again in Livide,scheduled for release in the new year.Jaume Balagueró,director of the highly original and entertaining REC(subsequently ripped-off by Hollywood with Quarantine)has mentioned having the desire to in turn remake tonight's entry,doing away with much of the gore in favour of focusing on the terror of the lead actress' pregnancy.Let's hope he doesn't do it.Inside stands as a wet dream for any horror fanatic worth his eighties slashers.A perfect four wops and the highest recommendations for it from yours cruelly. So...can I call you again?Haha,sorry.