Christmas is right around the corner, and everybody knows what that means. Some people celebrate the holiday with friends and family, while others spend it by their lonesome for a multitude of reasons. What we have here is the most intense and brutal Christmas film of the last 20 years – and of course, it’s one of the standout pieces of the New French Extremity movement.
Sarah is a heavily pregnant woman who has been grieving the death of her husband for the last several months after a devastating car crash that opens the film. Today happens to be Christmas Eve and she is due to give birth in the morning. Sarah comes off as rather emotionless at first, but it isn’t hard to understand that she has very little reason to be happy this holiday. She is given a ride home by her mother and is trying to enjoy a quiet evening when suddenly, the doorbell rings.
Outside of her door is La Femme (played by the always fierce and lovely Beatrice Dalle (Trouble Everyday, Betty Blue)), who says her car has broken down and she needs to use a phone. It’s Christmas Eve after all, and not only are all the local businesses already closed, but there’s also a series of French riots going on that make it dangerous to be out after dark. Sarah tells her that her husband is sleeping for an important job in the morning and can’t help her, but La Femme responds by saying ‘your husband isn’t sleeping, Sarah. He’s dead.’ From here, we witness a very bloody and disturbing home invasion film – the likes of which have not been seen to quite this intensity except for another French Extremity film, High Tension. The cops are difficult to reach due to the riots and the holiday, and when they do show up they usually aren’t the most helpful of folks. And the reason for the sudden appearance?
She wants Sarah’s baby.
This movie goes straight for the jugular and doesn’t let up until the credits begin to roll. Not only is the motive for the invasion itself spine-tingling, but the buckets of blood that are splashed across the walls combined with the horrifying attacks and copious amounts of creative dismemberment make for a truly visceral experience. Not only do we have a heavily-pregnant woman in peril situation, but her poor cat get’s it’s neck snapped, and almost everyone who tries to help her only gets in La Femme’s way.
Out of the entire NFE movement, this has always been one of my top 3. The violence is upsetting and copious, but it feels purposeful. The psychological themes incorporated into almost every crevice feels painfully tasked and brilliant. The acting is phenomenal, the music is jolting with a super freaky sting at certain moments, and the Christmas holiday incorporation is just a fun cherry on the top.
If you enjoy your horror to be gory, your killer’s to be cold and smart, and want to see some haunting visuals you cannot forget – I give this my strongest of recommendations. This is created by directing partners Julien Maury & Alexandre Bustillo (Livid, The Deep House).
“Inside” is currently streaming on Tubi & Vudu.
Merry Christmas everybody.
‘Til Next Time,
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