Inside, The (UK DVD)
Directed by Eoin Macken
Distributed by Monster Pictures
TV's "Merlin" actor Eoin Macken makes his feature writer-director combo debut in spectacularly grating fashion with The Inside, a "found footage" nightmare that will likely have even the most ardent fans of the subgenre legitimately debating whether the format is one of the worst things to ever happen in the world of horror.
Opening in a traditional film narrative, The Inside sees a guy pawn a ring at a shop in Dublin. In return, he gains some cash and a camcorder. Sitting down with his new acquisition, he hits "play", and the shaky-cam fun begins. From this point we're forced to endure an evening alongside a bunch of fun-loving young women as they set out to an abandoned warehouse in order to party down and celebrate one of their number's birthday. Meeting up with one of their friends' boyfriends, this ill-defined lot set about engaging in disinteresting chatter before their stunningly pumping party is gate-crashed by three repugnant homeless men with brutalisation, degradation and violence on their minds.
This is the point at which The Inside becomes nerve-shredding for all the wrong reasons. As it descends into an elongated, incoherent cacophony of incessant shouting, wailing, crying and babbling that comes close to inducing a headache, many will be repeatedly eyeing up the remote control's "Mute" button like a shipwrecked man trying to decide whether that Subway BMT lying next to him is real, or indeed a mirage that will simply disappear if he waits a little longer. After an unmerciful wait, the vagrants decide to move their motivations towards rape and while engaged in the act, something interesting happens... Odd sounds begin to emanate from the building, old TVs switch themselves on and a baby can be heard crying. Moments later, one of the assailants is yanked from his prey by an unseen force, quickly followed by the belle herself.
It feels as though things are about to get a little more fascinating at this point, as the remaining girls take the camera for a trip around the building only to discover arcane signs on the walls, and the malicious presence of one hastily-glimpsed, goo-soaked man shambling after them around almost every corner. Unfortunately, writer/director Macken doesn't feel the need to build any kind of actual story here, so just what these symbols are, why the hell they're scrawled around an abandoned Dublin warehouse and, indeed, just why there appears to be a demon of shorts shuffling about is never delved into. Instead, we're right back in standard shaky-cam territory as the shrieking women run from room to room to catacomb in their efforts to evade their new otherworldly pursuer.
There's nothing new here -- nothing interesting, nothing exciting, and barely anything even approaching scary. When the demonic entity first appears, the sounds of the crying baby invite a few chills, and when Macken pulls a camera stunt to display the rapidly approaching creature it's impressive the first time. The second time leads to thoughts of the director's obvious appreciation for such a move. The third and beyond expresses little more than a lack of imagination and the input of someone who appears to have played video game Slender a few times too many.
As the finale approaches, The Inside reverts back to the slow-paced cinematic style with which it began, as the camera's new owner heads off to the warehouse to investigate what he has seen -- only to walk right into the aftermath and find himself also rendered a cowering victim of the shambling menace within. The complete lack of foresight from this -- yet again, paper-thin -- character is nigh-on insulting to anyone watching this drivel, and when the thigh-slappingly brainless ending finally arrives it does nothing but reinforce how barely endurable a waste of time this is. While not quite as utterly worthless an entry as The Tapes (review here), The Inside should remain squarely outside your DVD player.
Alongside the film, distributor Monster Pictures gives us the trailer, a brief "Making of" featurette, and an exclusive picture-in-picture video commentary with director Eoin Macken, producer Franco Noonan and actress Vanessa Matias Fahy. Unfortunately, the trio are rarely engaging throughout -- regularly settling into silence as they simply watch the film while interjecting that they really ought to be talking about it rather than just sitting there. Some of the detail that escapes their mouths is worthwhile, such as the fortuitousness of finding a location that unexpectedly sported underground servants' passages perfectly suited to the film, but ultimately not even a few interesting first-hand insight into the trials of low budget filmmaking can make this tripe worth a second spin.
1/2 out of 5
2 out of 5