Back in 2007, directors Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo debuted A L’Interieur at Frightfest. Ten years later, in 2017, they shared Leatherface, whilst an English remake of A L’Interieur, Inside, was debuted by Miguel Ángel. Inside is a Christmas-set chiller that sees a recently widowed pregnant woman have to defend herself, and her unborn child, from an unwanted guest.
Christmas can be tough for anyone, but imagine spending you’re first Christmas alone after the death of your spouse. Then further imagine that you’re very heavily pregnant with said spouse’s child. Then add it to the mix a strange visitor, on Christmas Eve no less, whom then proceeds to break into your house and try and take your child from you. It’s a terrifying scenario and one that, according to the opening statements, happens all too often. Inside begins with the rather ominous message that in recent years in the US alone there have been over 306 cases of infant abduction. 10% of these cases happened whilst the mother was still pregnant. Over 9 out of 10 mothers do not survive the attack. It’s a terrifying statistic that sets the tone for the following ninety or so minutes. We know that something horrifying is about to unfold, but we’re just not sure how.
The home-invasion situation seems to be the current trend, with films like You’re Next and Hush wowing genre fans. Inside also seeks to gain accolade from its audience, and for the most part does a solid job. Personally, this writer prefers Inside to, say Hush, as it makes better choices during the cat and mouse, hide and seek, portions of the story. Hush felt too repetitive in many places, but here our heroine does everything she can to try and keep her and her baby safe. That’s not to say that the film doesn’t fall into some tropes, it does; the main offender being the police officers. They seem to make mistakes that seem so outrageous you wonder how they passed the academy.
As the revelation behind the evil intentions are unveiled, Inside unfortunately starts to lose some of its charm. There are several much better routes that the narrative could have gone down, but doesn’t. Anyone really familiar with this kind of genre will probably peg what’s going on fairly early on.
Tropes aside, it’s a tense and upsetting journey. The camerawork is kept tight, highlighting the fact that our lead is enclosed. Rachel Nichols is feisty and lioness-like as our protective mother-to-be. Her performance elicits a great deal of empathy, you feel first her pain of grief and later her fear of death. Also on point is Laura Harring as the deadly stranger intent on grabbing the child. She’s mean and motivated. It seems that a mother’s love really can be deadly.
Inside is available to rent on Digital HD now.
This review first appeared on THN.