The Inside DVD Review
Written by Joel Harley
DVD released by Monster Pictures UK
Written and Directed by Eoin Macken
2010, Region 2 (PAL), 93 minutes, Rated 18
DVD released on 25th March 2013
Karl Argue as Scat
Kellie Blaise as Sienna
Siobhan Cullen as Corina
Vanessa Matias Fahy as Louise
Brian Fortune as Eamo
Liam Heffron as Grave Digger
Not the quite brilliant French film about the pregnant lady and the psychopath. If only. No, The Inside is yet another found footage horror movie about supernatural happenings in dingy basements. It may be more Irish and a lot louder than most movies of its ilk, but it remains just another bloody found footage horror movie. The invention of relatively cheap, easy to use handheld video cameras is one of the worst things to happen to horror cinema since sparkly vampires.
Five young girls and their boyfriend (lucky chap) go partying in a seemingly abandoned warehouse to celebrate a birthday. The party is crashed by a gang of homeless thugs, who waste little time in beating the male of the group to death and instigating an awful game of spin the bottle. It's the sort of story you don't often get with found footage horror, making The Inside at first seem mildly interesting. It's like Last House on the Left meets [REC] without ever being even nearly as good as either of those things. It's almost a relief when the group is attacked by something unseen and supernatural. I had envisioned the film spending ninety minutes repeatedly raping the five girls (see The Hike. Actually, no, don't) so at least we're spared that in The Inside's descent into predictability. Every cloud, and all that.
Despite the obvious ambition and talent behind the camera, the thing about The Inside is that it's actually unwatchable. Not in a mediocre, boring sort of way – and nor an unpleasant, too gory manner – The Inside is literally too hard to watch. The first half of the film is all screaming, shrieking terror, the second half (amidst more screaming, shrieking terror) all dizzying camerawork, pitch black rooms and a threat too ill-defined to be scary. After fifteen minutes of the girls screaming in terror and the blokes screaming “shut the fuck up” (or variations therein) at them, I had a splitting headache. It's little wonder that the bad guys spend so much of their time with their hands over the girls' mouths.
And then the film descends into the basement, amidst a flurry of indecipherable shots and even louder screaming and shrieking. Screaming may be a realistic reaction to horror, but it doesn't make for particularly coherent viewing. The format has the camera passed from one character to another, giving everyone a chance to play filmmaker. It generally holds that whoever is holding the camera becomes the sensible, quieter one, while the one without screams a lot and spends most of their time running away. It's another found footage film in which the footage mostly consists of a protagonist's jiggling arse, attempting to escape whatever it is that's trying to kill them. Although at least you get to see the man who finds the footage, which is a nice touch and – in its switch to a more conventional filming style – a welcome break from the shaky cameras and incessant screeching.
Despite an interesting concept and good ideas, The Inside is one of the more unwatchable found footage horror movies of recent years. Which is a shame, because it could have been so much more.
Video and Audio:
It looks horrible and the constant screaming will give you a headache. While that's no doubt supposed to be the point, it just comes across as distracting and unpleasant. Its occasional changes to conventional camerawork work better, but it's not enough to redeem the film.
The Making Of feature and video commentary is invaluable viewing if you want to know what the film you've just watched was actually about. As I have found many times before, watching the special features on low budget movies, I felt bad for not enjoying the film more. It's just a shame that the obvious passion and enthusiasm behind the lens wound up buried beneath a mess of gimmickry and pain-inducing cinematography.