Tuesday, 28 May 2013

An Extreme World - Inside

When concidering world cinema and the new extreme horror, you cannot forget about the French. French new extremity is making waves allover the world with themes of vengeance, jealousy and abuse. Their talent for shocking while telling truelly emotional stories is second to none.

Inside - France
Directed By Alexadre Bustillo and Julien Maury
Starring Beatrice Dalle and Alysson Paradis

I had this sitting on my watchlist for a long long time. It's been at the top a few times and I've skipped it to watch something else. The theme of pregnancy is a controversial one especially for people who are parents themselves. Often scenes of pregnant women and babies being sexually abused, murdered, tortured and killed are the scenes which put many people off a lot of horror movies. One thing's for sure, Inside touches on a lot of hard subjects. Pregnancy, grief, infant death and impending birth.

Inside starts off with a car crash in which a pregnant woman loses her husband in the process. Cut to 4 months later and Sarah is due to have her baby any day. When a woman knocks on her door she turns the woman away. But the woman won't leave and invades Sarahs home, tormenting her throughout the night and murdering those who try to help. What does this woman want? Sarah's unborn baby!

It is undeniable that Inside is one of the most bloody films I've ever seen. It is also one of the most disturbing. The relentless "La Femme" terrorises Sarah is some of the worst ways imaginable. The death scenes are brutal, and we see almost everything. With a certain infamous ending that is so explicit it had me squirming. The storytelling of Inside is perfect. The focus of our sympathy is always on Sarah, with shots of the baby in utero giving us a new perspective of the unborn child and the pain and suffering he goes through too. These parts, although the CGI is quite obvious, can be extremely difficult to cope with. One scene where Sarah is hit repeatedly in the stomach shows the baby's reaction. This is so raw and the thought of a defenseless unborn child being put through this torment is painful to watch but I could never look away. Surprisingly, for something so extreme, never does it feel forced or over the top. The violence seems realistic and sensible. While some scenes are extremely difficult to deal with unlike some extreme movies they don't feel hamfisted and silly and although the violence is almost constant it doesn't get tedious or boring. Whenever you think Sarah is safe La Femme takes it to another level. La Femme eventually does reveal her story to Sarah. It's heartbreaking what she went through and her reasoning for wanting to take the baby from Sarah, she is obviously going through a complete mental breakdown. There is a scene where she seeks comfort from a cigarette while screaming in what seems like physical as well

as emotional pain. We don't get to feel for her for long though as she continues to kill anyone and anything that gets close to Sarah.

With much of the film being shot inside a blood soaked bathroom, it gets very claustrophobic. There isn't much in the way of light either. The hardest part of any film that takes place in just one or two rooms is the feeling of being trapped, covered in dirt and blood. It makes you want to clean yourself after watching.

In short, Inside is shot beautifully. The camera work is amazing. Nothing feels rushed or hamfisted. The score is one made up of fast guitars or slow gentle piano. So haunting.

My Rating

Sunday, 26 May 2013

An Extreme World - I Saw The Devil.

Extremes in horror isn't a new concept. Boundaries have been pushed since horror began. At first it was monster movies, then Romero blew minds with his Night Of the Living Dead during the late 60's. Later the 80's saw the moral panic and the birth of censorship in the home. The BBFC were given more power to control just how much violence was allowed on video. The birth of the internet made it possible for underground extreme cinema to become what it is today. I began to explore extreme cinema at the same time as foreign cinema. They seem to go hand in hand. France, Japan and Korea have given us some of the bloodiest movies in the past decade. A new era of terrifyingly real effects and shocking storylines which hollywood and mainstream audiences could never handle. In celebration of this new wave of extremities I've been watching some of the best examples.

I Saw The Devil - S.Korea.
Director - Kim Jee-Woon
Starring - Byung-Hun Lee, Min-sik Choi

A serial killer, Kyung-Chul has been running around and police are stumped on how to catch him. The sadistic killer makes the mistake of abducting, torturing and murdering Agent Kim Soo-Hyeon's pregnant young wife which sets off events where said Soo-Hyeon goes against his moral codes to seek revenge.

I Saw The Devil is brutal, raw and tragic. The violence is extreme. The blood flows in buckets. No one is safe here. Sexual violence, dismemberments, stabbings and torture are all present. Some scenes are so nasty its hard to keep watching, at the same time you cannot look away. At first the violence feels justified. After all you've just watched this sadistic killer -played by Oldboy's Oh Dae-Su actor, Min-Sik Choi- murder a pregnant woman, dismember her and leave her body for a heartbroken man to find. He doesn't deserve mercy. If it was simple as torturing and killing the man it would have been rather easy to stay on side with the agent but he doesn't. He catches, tortures and releases. Not once, not twice but several times. It's like watching a cat play with a mouse. It becomes cruelty. However, sides do not switch. While Kyung-Chul is running, he still kills. He does not become a victim. Eventually, it's two monsters facing against one another. Neither of them is a hero, they both become villains. It's just a case of deciding who is worse.

Cinematography wise, I saw the Devil is so beautiful it's startling. Such a mean spirited film can come across as attractive to the eye. Everything passes expectation. One scene where the killer stabs 2 men to death inside a car is stunning. As the camera circles the three men you see every reaction, the sound of the knife stabbing into them almost nauseating. The violence, although strong does not come across as over the top or forced. The finale is spectacular. Every time it rocks me.

I Saw The Devil is not for the faint of heart. It's brutal, shocking and nasty. It is very long. Runtime, almost 2 and a half hours but it does not drag or feel long. The pace is quick, barely a moment to breath.

My Rating10/10