If you like horror films that push the limit, I'm sure you're already eagerly scanning new French releases for the good stuff. If you're a horror fan that doesn't understand why the new American horror revival is pretty tame, it's time to expand your horizons.
Bustillo and Maury just added another killer feature to the ever growing list of impressive French horror films. À l'Intérieur is a film that has developed quite a reputation already, and rightfully so. Bring on the guts and gore, but wrap it up stylishly.
The film starts of slow, meticulously laying out Sarah's rather depressing situation. The camera work is almost dreamy, the music soft, the colors desaturated and only a few strange encounters hint at the upcoming madness. The pace doesn't pick up for a while, and although it doesn't take long for the fun to start, the directors are in no hurry to get the viewer there. Nod them to sleep, then scare them shitless.
Visually the film is very solid. Although I would have preferred a little more contrast, the lighting is highly atmospheric and the main location of the film is used to full effect. At parts, the camera work is soft and poetic, at other times frantic and glitchy, always enhancing the mood of the film. The in-between shots of the baby are not technically perfect but interesting nonetheless;
I have been known to complain about the lack of decent soundtracks before, but it seems a lot of directors are catching up. Glitchy electronics are used to aggravate the viewer when things become intense, soothing music plays during the subdued parts. This adds to the film in the same way the visuals do, making the film a true experience, rather than a story to be told.
After the slow start the madness begins and it must be said that Bustillo and Maury know exactly what they are doing. In interviews they expressed their love for 70s horror films, which is pretty obvious from their film. Luckily, they didn't mimic those films but built upon them to create something that still works in the 21st century. It takes the best parts from Halloween, embraces films like Hellraiser and keeps the chill and thrill on a continuously high level.
To make it all complete, Béatrice Dalle was cast in the role of psycho bitch, rampaging through the movie. The world of cinema has known plenty of interesting bad guys, but little can rival the pure craziness and horror that's fills the screen when she is present. Paradis does a great job playing the hunted Sarah but is simply overshadowed by Dalle's role.
À l'Intérieur is a film that will please horror and gore fans all around. It starts of slow but it doesn't take long before it all turns bad and doesn't let you go until the splattering finale. French horror is hot and Bustillo and Maury created a film that can proudly stand next to Ils and Haute Tension.