Friday, July 17, 2009


And the French raze the house down once again…
There’s just seems to be something about France, extreme horror, and Christmas: Kim Chapiron did it in Sheitan, and now, it’s Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo’s turn to rain buckets of fake blood down on the holidays, in À l'intérieur (Inside).
Sarah (Alysson Paradis) is recently widowed, and scheduled to give birth on Christmas morning. First though, she must spend Christmas Eve alone, while riots and violence shake the city around her.
And to make matters worse… well… let’s just say matters are made worse. Very very much worse.

Now, since À l'intérieur is the sort of film that works best the less you know about it going in, I really shouldn’t say much more than that.
What I can say is that there’s some Hitchcock in here, along with some Argento, some Miike, and a smidgen of Cronenberg thrown in for good measure.
There’s also a discordant and unnerving score, courtesy of Francois-Eudes Chanfrault, who also penned music for Gilles Marchand’s Qui a tué Bambi? (Who Killed Bambi?), Alexandre Aja’s Haute Tension, Oliver Blackburn’s Donkey Punch, and Fabrice Du Welz’s Vinyan.

Make no mistake, À l'intérieur is extreme horror that brings the goods, a brazen bit of Grand Guignol that will find its audience riveted, watching slack-jawed over stretches of running time, as the onscreen atrocities—supervised by Jacques-Olivier Molon—just escalate to terribly ridiculous heights.
Either that, or they’ll simply flee to the bathroom to throw up whatever they’ve just eaten.

Pregnant women should not, I repeat, not come within a hundred metres of this one, and if you’re particularly fond of Christmas, you should probably steer clear of this too.
Yes, there are moments where the characters seem to forget the meaning of words like “phone” and “back-up,” but still and all, this one doesn’t mess about.
If you’re into loud horror that oozes and spurts, consider this a bloody present from Santa.
You have been warned.

Parting shot: After brief flirtations with the Halloween sequel and the impending Hellraiser reboot, Maury et Bustillo have instead chosen Livid to be their English-language debut. Livid is a dark fantasy with supernatural elements that sounds—at least to me—like it could wind up in Suspiria territory.

Parting shot 2: Reviews of Sheitan, Donkey Punch, Vinyan, and Suspiria, for that matter, can be found in the Archive. There’s also The Children in there, which takes another brutal swing at the holidays.

(À l'intérieur OS courtesy of; images courtesy of and; Inside DVD cover art courtesy of

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