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INSIDE (2016)

Directed by Miguel Ángel Vivas
Written by Jaume Balagueró & Manu Díez (screenplay), Alexandre Bustillo & Julien Maury (original screenplay)
Starring Rachel Nichols, Laura Harring, Andrea Tivadar, Stany Coppet, Ben Temple, Maarten Swaan, David Chevers, Richard Felix, Craig Stevenson, Steve Howard

Along with FRONTIER[S], HIGH TENSION, and of course, MARTYRS, INSIDE was one of the most potent horror films to come out of the new French horror revolution during the oughts. While many poo poo foreign horror remakes from the get go, I know sometimes they can be pretty entertaining (see LET ME IN/LET THE RIGHT ONE IN). Then again, as evidenced by the recent abysmal remake of MARTYRS–sometimes they should have just left well enough alone. Unfortunately, I feel INSIDE kind of fits into the latter category as it is too much like the original and the changes made to the film, simply add nothing to it.

As with the original INSIDE, the remake tells the tale of Sarah (this time played by Rachel Nichols), a survivor of a car accident which left her a widow and a single mother. The night before she is to induce labor, she is stalked by an unnamed woman (this time played by MULHOLLAND DRIVE’s Laura Harring) intent on slicing the baby right out of Sarah’s body. The film depicts the grueling and desperate acts Sarah takes to save the life of her unborn child.

For the most part, this version of INSIDE is a step by step remake of the original until the very last act. The only difference in the first hour is that the roles are played by different (if not equally talented) actors and there is a noticeably a whole lot less blood than the original. And that’s a big problem. One of the things about the original that was so effective is that the film was so viscerally horrifying seeing these two women slice and dice each other apart. Sure, there is a cut or two that occurs throughout the film, but it never achieves the level of horror achieved in the original. So why defang a film notorious for being bloody, gory, and violent? In doing so, it takes away a major portion of what made the film so popular in the first place. The film isn’t bloodless, but the intensity of it all and striking contrast between the white bathroom Sarah becomes trapped in in the original and the blood smeared all over the walls is decreased exponentially.

The last half hour “adds” to the story by taking Sarah outside of the home that housed all of the action in the original. Instead of subtly explaining how Harring’s character is tied to Sarah as it occurs in the original, it blatantly explains the connection, just in case those in the cheap seats don’t get it. **SPOILER** The most frustrating aspect of the film is the final moments where Sarah and the woman struggle underneath a covered swimming pool—flailing around as if both of these women are themselves fighting it out within a makeshift womb and ending with the survivor ripping through the pool-cover and being reborn from the violence…

I shit you not. That’s how it ends.***END SPOILER***
Director Miguel Ángel Vivas is a talented guy. He brought us the excellent split screen masterpiece KIDNAPPED from a few years back (which I believe was a remake itself, though I could be wrong). He is able to recreate some of the claustrophobia from the original, though bloodlessly. This film most likely isn’t his fault. The fault is in the producers who believe foreign films need to be remade and sanitized for American consumption. INSIDE pales in comparison with the original. The script has a lot of leaps in logic and ends on such a ludicrously metaphorical note that it feels ridiculous. Just check out the original (see my review here) and skip the remake.

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