12 Slays, Day 3: Ring in the Holidays, French Extremity Style – INSIDE

It’s that most wonderful time of the year again. Jingles are jangling, chestnuts are roasting and the Hallmark Channel is churning out its latest batch of traditional flights of winter wonderland fancies. Among these time honored traditions of the season is one less spoken of but most present throughout; home invasion.

Every year a fat man suits up, breaks into homes across the world and promises either gift or punishment. While films like Black Christmas or Silent Night Deadly Night paced the way to highlight this time honored tradition into the lexicon of Christmas movies, these slashers seem like a dull playful blade compared to the savagery of infamous French Extremist film Inside.

Coming out of French Extremity movement of the early 2000s, canonized by the likes of Martyrs and High Tension, Inside found a new angle to inject the stylized adrenal terror with its assault on one of the most sacred days of the year: Christmas Eve.

Directed by Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo and released in 2007, Inside was met by an already excited niche audience through the Dimension Extreme label who had become a champion for bringing international attention to the most aggressive and extreme forms of horror for the time.

Starring Alysson Paradis as Sarah, the story follows a pregnant woman’s Christmas eve turned blood curdling nightmare. Having lost her husband to a car accident four months before her due date, Sarah sits alone in her house dreading the holiday cheers of Christmas. Her day will not be spent unwrapping presents but instead undergoing the intense pains of labor to birth her still unnamed newborn child.

While her mother and boss have both offered to keep her company, Sarah has denied their polite company in order to brood on the pains of the past and those to come. But it’s not long into the night when she finds her door knocked upon by a persistent stranger who insists she let her in.

Played by Nathalie Roussel, this stranger does not take a polite no for an answer and begins to harass Sarah by pounding on her door and windows. Naturally Sarah resolves to call the police and it seems their arrival puts a stop to this nuisance.

However, while Sarah eventually feels safe enough to fall asleep it’s shortly after that she awakes to find herself being stabbed in her pregnant stomach by a scissor wielding maniac.

Survival instincts kick in and a bloody brawl ensues. The stranger has not left the house and has no intentions of leaving until she gets what she came for: Sarah’s baby.

As Sarah’s mother, boss and police return to check in on Sarah they each find themselves locked into a vicious onslaught of stabbing and slashing that decks the halls with bloodshed.

Once the first body drops Inside becomes an absolute powerhouse of adrenaline as each character is hunted down and brutalized while Sarah desperately tries to escape the clutches of the scissor wielding psycho killing all who attempt to rescue. Eyes are gouged, heads are blown off, flesh is peeled and organs rearranged as this savage home invasion flick becomes a marathon of suburban barbarism.

It’s not until the finale that Sarah’s tormented question of “Why is this happening to me?” is answered in a stand off with the vicious woman who’s invaded her life. The stranger was the other passenger in the car accident who had also been pregnant and lost her own child. For this, it’s only fair that she takes Sarah’s… by any means necessary.

For those looking to spatter up their holiday spirits with a bit of gruesome gallantry, Inside says “Watch this” to all other Christmas slashers and horrors to deliver an absolute grim holiday spirit.

Jon Chamis
Black Soul / Metallic Heart
Jon Chamis is a screenwriter from Vermont whose fascinated by all films weird, horrific and macabre. From praising Bergman to defending Rob Zombie's Halloween, Jon likes to explore any artist striving to push boundaries and can be found in the parking lot before any matinee showing of a new release. You can catch him over at Letterboxd to chat about film.
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