'Inside': Film Review

Inside Still 1 - Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of Nostromo Pictures SL
An unnecessary and inferior remake.

A pregnant woman desperately tries to escape from a home intruder who wants her unborn baby in Miguel Angel Vivas' remake of the 2007 French horror film.

Horror film remakes can be a dicey proposition, with genre fans often crying out in protest of what they see as desecrations of the originals. That subset is bound to be out in force with Miguel Angel Vivas' American redo of the Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo 2007 film that was part of the so-called "New French Extremity." Despite its tense storyline involving a pregnant, partially deaf woman desperately trying to escape from a female home invader intent on taking the unborn baby, Inside somehow manages to be remarkably devoid of suspense throughout its brief running time.

The story begins with pregnant Sarah (Rachel Nichols) involved in a horrific car crash that leaves her husband dead and her hearing seriously impaired. Retreating to the solitude of her suburban home, Sarah rarely ventures outside, although she's periodically checked on by her solicitous next-door neighbor (Ben Temple).

Late one rainy night, Sarah hears a knock at her door and then a woman's voice. Someone's begging to be let in so she can use the phone. Sarah resists her entreaties, but the woman doesn't take no for an answer. And then she calls Sarah by her name.

Shaken up by the mysterious stranger, Sarah calls the cops, who promise to keep an eye on the house. But that doesn't prevent "The Woman" (Laura Harring of Mulholland Drive fame) from somehow getting inside the house and terrorizing Sarah, who retreats to the temporary safety of her bathroom. The ensuing cat-and-mouse game features potential rescues of the heroine by her mother, two cops and her neighbors. Suffice it to say that few of them emerge unscathed, or, more accurately, avoid the fate of being stabbed to death by the intruder, who displays an uncanny knack for getting the upper hand in violent situations.  

Featuring the sort of ridiculously contrived plotting in which most of the characters display absolutely no intelligence whatsoever, Inside doesn't even manage to generate the requisite chills, despite its frequent bursts of gory mayhem. It doesn't help that the screenplay co-written by Jaume Balaguero, Manu Diez and the director features such lines as the villainess chiding her potential victim, "See what you've gone and done?" Or that the cop characters are so hapless they might as well have "Keystone" embroidered on their uniforms. By the time the seemingly interminable proceedings reach their conclusion with a nighttime scene, set in a swimming pool, that gives new meaning to the term "water birth," viewers will have longs since thrown up their hands.

The two female leads go through their paces with admirable commitment, but sadly, neither are particularly compelling (Harring, for instance, isn't nearly as frightening as Beatrice Dalle was in the original). The supporting players are on hand too briefly to make any kind of impression, with the exception of Temple, who makes the most of his small role as the supportive neighbor.

Lacking the star power that might have drawn American audiences who haven't seen the far superior original, Inside has no reason for being.

Production companies: Nostromo Pictures, Inside Productions, Grand Piano
Distributor: Vertical Entertainment
Cast: Rachel Nichols, Laura Harring, Ben Temple
Director: Miguel Angel Vivas
Screenwriters: Jaume Balaguero, Manu Diez, Miguel Angel Vivas
Producers: Adrian Guerra, Nuria Valls
Director of photography: Josu Inchaustegui
Production designer: Didac Bono
Editor: Luis de la Madried
Composer: Victor Reyes
Costume designer: Fran Cruz
Casting: Cristina Campos

88 minutes