My first screening at MIFF 08 was a very disappointing one indeed, though it’s hard to be sure just how much blame I should lay on the filmmakers.

This film is dark. Very dark. After viewing the trailer online, I can see things that I completely missed in the cinema. I can’t figure out why, but somehow the version showing at MIFF was of a really shitty quality.Inside (À l'intérieur) The subtitles were jagged and pixelly, whilst the image itself was horribly washed out – it looked like it was filmed on video… and I mean video TAPE, not digital. And then there was the slight problem of not seeing a good 80 percent of the film. I’m not kidding, it was that dark. Most of the story plays out within a house at night, with the only lighting provided by ‘real’ sources – lamps, generally. But even the brighter moments inside that house had me squinting, trying to figure out what was going on.

I think the cinematography was quite good, or at least the framing was. The film works well within the confines of a small house – and the tension is rather effective.

It’s Christmas Eve, and single mum-to-be Sarah is in the last hours of her pregnancy. The doctor plans to induce her the next morning. Still grieving the loss of her husband, she’s lonely and isolated within the confines of her (very, VERY) dark house. Just when she’s about to go to bed, there’s a knock at the door, and someone begging to come in.

What follows is one of the most grisly and sadistic horrors I’ve seen in a long time. Hostel actually seems rather good-natured in comparison to Inside. The blood makes its appearance early, and never stops flowing. The violence is very graphic, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this film would struggle to get an R rating in Australia, should it be properly released. What’s more, the gore seems unjustified (unlike with Aja’s The Hills Have Eyes), and made me feel more than a little ill.

Unfortunately, the story isn’t very impressive. The narrative serves only to raise the body count, and some of the plot points seem beyond contrived. Like many horrors, this film features some of the World’s Most Stupid Policemen™, not to mention a heroine with whom it’s hard to sympathise. The central mystery becomes dull pretty quickly because the script simply saves a revelation for the end, rather than doling out juicy clues along the way.

I did enjoy the music, and horror aficionados will appreciate the outright depravity, but Inside was disappointing. And I can only pray that everyone else sees a decent print, rather than the 6th generation VHS that seemed to be playing in my cinema. I may well have enjoyed it more had I seen what was going on…

Rating: 2.0 stars
Review by Stuart Wilson, 27th July 2008
Hoopla Factor: 1.0 stars

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