Since the masterpiece that was Les Diaboliques (1955) the French have been ever so slowly rising to the top of the horror game, and now, at the centre of the Euro Splatter explosion, they’ve done nothing short of annihilate all who would dare to usurp their bloodstained crown. For me no one has come close to pushing moral boundaries in the modern film world since the exploitation/grind house trend of the seventies. With classics like Calvaire aka The Ordeal, Ils aka Them and Martyrs savagely attacking taboos while Hollywood are barely beginning to learn to skirt around them.
So what could be more taboo than a heavily pregnant victim? Apparently not much according to some reactions to this one …
Sarah is a young woman widowed four months previously, and due to give birth to her first child at any moment. It’s Christmas Eve, she’s alone, and a strange (I’m playing fast and loose with the term strange these days it seems ..) woman knocks on the door. She knows all about Sarah and tries to force her way in, so being sensible, our rotund heroine calls the police, who check the property but conclude that Madame Creepy has gone, but promise to keep an eye out for any trouble. (Ah the ineffectual cop that can only be found in horror films or an episode of The Dukes of Hazzard). Does she come back? You can bet your backside she does and she’s mental, skilled with scissors and isn’t going to leave until she has Sarah’s unborn baby. See where this is going?
Oh yeah, that’s right – buckets of blood, vomit and gore ahoy for the viewer, that’s where!
Inside, for me hits all the right notes. Unrelenting tension, violence and the red stuff, all wrapped up by some of the most exquisite acting I’ve seen in a very long time. Although I didn’t find it as graphic as others, I can imagine why those that haven’t desensitised themselves to the stab happy blood baths that I’m so used to, could maybe feel a little queasy, but for me, the violence didn’t quite go far enough for my liking (don’t worry folk, I am currently on medication!).
It’s a great film, very dark and claustrophobic, but I think the reason why it is deemed so shocking is merely because of the pregnancy theme and not the violent splatter fest. CGI shots of the baby in utero amidst the violence may have struck an emotional chord with a lot of fans, but for me, it just got in the way of the action. I find that any sort of horror film involving the little people (No not munchkins, those other squeaky annoyances we call children) seems to make people crazily uptight and easily offended. Personally I could care less about the morality of the subject matter, as far as I’m concerned, if you’ve read the blurb and watched it anyway, knowing that it’s going to make you go cross eyed with rage, then you deserve everything you get.
There were a few odd little flaws in the mix, that I cant quite fathom the reason for (zombie cop anyone?), but I cant deny that this one is definitely up there with the best of the torture porn and still managing to satisfy the hankering for a bit of psychological horror you may have left over.
All in all, I give it five out of five severed fingers .. But a word to the wise, if you are currently carrying a tiny human inside of you, maybe give this one a little swerve, at least until it’s not sharing the use of your womb.