Inside (2016) [Review]
INSIDE, the 2016 remake of the 2007 French horror film from Alexandre Bustillo Julien Maury (Among the Living, Leatherface), finally gets a release in the early weeks of 2018. You’ll be able to find it on VOD starting January 12.
If you don’t know the story, it’s a pretty simple one. A pregnant woman loses her husband in a car accident and spends Christmas Eve alone, until a stranger hellbent on getting her baby shows up at her door to enact a night of terror.
This version comes from [REC] writer Jaume Balagueró and Kidnapped director Miguel Ángel Vivas, whose names may cause some horror fans’ ears to perk up based on their respective past efforts, but do they succeed in creating a film as memorable as what Bustillo and Maury unleashed on the world just over a decade ago? If you ask me, the answer is an unfortunate (yet not exactly unexpected) “no”.
There are two ways to watch this movie: having seen the original and having not, and the former will undoubtedly color your experience. We can try to be objective here all we want, but if you’ve experienced Inside (2007), the comparisons are simply unavoidable (full disclosure: I’m a big fan of the original, so yes I have some bias here).
INSIDE (2016) mostly follows the same beats as its predecessor, but neuters what made the original memorable…
Much like the Martyrs remake, which I found myself reviewing almost exactly two years ago, INSIDE (2016) has plenty of baggage attached to it for viewers of the French film. Also, again, much like the Martyrs remake, INSIDE (2016) mostly follows the same beats as its predecessor, but neuters what made the original memorable, in favor of more conventional (and as a result, more boring) storytelling.
..has its share of bloodshed, yet never comes remotely close to approaching the levels of visceral brutality that the original is famous for.
The film has its share of bloodshed and intended cringe-inducing body horror moments, yet never comes remotely close to approaching the levels of visceral brutality that the original is famous for. Confusingly, it seems the filmmakers wanted to give audiences something a little easier to stomach while still grossing them out on occasion. As a result, the end-product comes off as head-scratchingly weak. I do give them credit for skipping the unconvincing in-utero shots of the baby that are sprinkled throughout the original (which always remind me of those old Internet dancing baby animations).
The performances here are serviceable, but the English language version’s The Woman (Laura Harring) does not come off nearly as menacing as the original’s La Femme (played so memorably by Béatrice Dalle). The same could be said for the film’s visuals – serviceable, but not nearly as menacing.
While the film generally follows the same story for the first two thirds, it begins to do its own thing after that…
My biggest issue with this new take on a modern classic, however, is that its third act stumbles into relative absurdity. It’s hard to discuss this part without getting into spoilers, but suffice it to say that while the film generally follows the same story for the first two thirds, it begins to do its own thing after that and asks a lot from the viewer in the suspension-of-disbelief department.
Okay, so that’s my take as an unabashed fan of the source material. Now, do I think someone who is not familiar will have a more positive experience? Perhaps, if it wasn’t for that third act. If you have no basis of comparison, you really don’t know what you’re missing by skipping the original and may have a somewhat entertaining time here. It’s possible. I can guarantee, however, it will not leave the kind of lasting impression felt by viewers of Bustillo and Maury’s film.
Ultimately, we’re looking at yet another unnecessary remake of a film that’s not even that old and still holds up quite well (I just revisited it ahead of Christmas in fact). INSIDE (2016) brings virtually nothing new to the table that improves the experience. It’s not terrible; it’s just that a vastly superior version exists.