Inside (2007) - A French Body Horror (Spoiler Free)
Trigger Warning(s); Gore, Body Mutilation, Child Loss, Animal Harm
Inside was released in France in June 2007 and is currently streaming on Tubi and Shudder. Inside was written by Alexandre Bustillo; this was Bustillo’s first film project. In addition to writing, Bustillo co-directed Inside with his film partner Julien Maury. Both Bustillo and Maury would later go on to direct and write together on other films (Livid, Leatherface, and The Deep House).
The film stars Béatrice Dalle (Trouble Everyday and Betty Blue), who plays The Women, and Alysson Paradis (The Way Beyond), who plays Sarah. Sarah is 24 hours away from being induced for the birth of her first child. We learn throughout the film that Sarah lost her husband and the father of her child in a car accident four months earlier, which Sarah was the one driving.
Seeing Sarah not excited about the birth of her child because of her grief is heartbreaking to watch. What should be a wonderful moment for a couple in love has turned into a permanent reminder of the accident that claimed the life of Matthieu (Jean-Baptiste Tabourin). Early on, we learn that Sarah is a photographer for a local paper; in her dark room, we see the walls are covered with photos of her and Matthieu.
As we watch Sarah relaxing at home on her last night before the baby arrives, The Woman shows up at Sarah's door after dark and tries to convince Sarah to let her inside. Sarah explains that her husband is already asleep, but The Woman knows Sarah's name and that her husband is dead. Sarah is unsure of how this woman knows who she is. The Woman then moves from the front door to the side window. Sarah attempts to take photographs of The Woman and develops them in her dark room. Sadly, we do not see much of The Woman's face as she is hidden in the shadows.
A significant aspect of the film is that the audience does not see The Woman’s face until she is inside the house and after she hurts Sarah for the first time. I love this detail and the care that was put into directing and blocking so her face would be hidden. This film has a lot of gore and body horror throughout the 90-minute run time. The Woman is hell-bent on taking Sarah's baby. The majority of the film is Sarah stuck in the bathroom trying to figure out how to keep her child safe and stay away from The Woman in her home. We see on more than one occasion The Woman uses a large pair of scissors and sticks them in Sarah's belly button in an attempt to cut the baby out. Sarah does not go down without a fight and the end of this film will have you feeling empty inside.
The Woman is able to manipulate every situation in the film to her advantage. We also learn that this woman has a personal agenda against Sarah and her child. The Woman is such a powerful villain throughout the film. She is very calculated and clearly has no hesitation about what she intends to do to Sarah. We also see The Woman harm Sarah's cat, it's a short scene and not graphic, but I wanted to mention it all the same. Sarah makes for an easy hero to root for. She fights tooth and nail to try and save herself and her child. Once the fight moves out of the bathroom, we see that Sarah is sharp on her feet in terms of finding things to use as weapons. We even see Sarah stab herself in the throat once she is injured enough and has difficulty breathing. I enjoyed the character development of her not seeming excited about the baby's birth and then her relentless fight to protect her child and herself.
Overall, Inside is a bloody horrific ride. I didn't mind the level of gore, but it may be too much for some people. The action sequences are great, and I love the painful feeling every time Sarah is close to being rescued by someone and then watching it fail. This film does not leave you with any warm feelings at the end. It is quite literally a painful emotional bloodbath. If you want to hear the full scene-by-scene without seeing the gore, check out my latest podcast episode this week (June 23rd, 2023).
9 out of 10 Screams