The INSIDE - *

Directed by Eoin Macken. Starring Kellie Blaise, Siobhan Cullen, Tereza Srbova. Horror/ thriller, Ireland, 93 mins, 18.

Released in the UK on DVD by Monster Pictures on 25 March 2013, £13.27

Eoin Macken is the writer, director, and star of THE INSIDE, a Dublin-set horror related through tiresome found footage. Hoping to get a decent price for a ring in a pawn shop, an unnamed man (Macken) settles for seventy-five Euro and a video camera, for some inconceivable reason. Discovering a tape still in the camera, he goes to a nice, well-lit café to watch it. After two brief reaction shots, he then disappears off screen for the next hour.

The footage, as it turns out, is of a girl's birthday, during which her friends decide not to go to a pub or club, but to a random abandoned warehouse. After fifteen minutes of mindlessly repetitive, mundane and often unintelligible drunk girl-ramblings, three scobes (Irish chavs) turn up to wreck the party. Sadistic, aggressive, and violent, they quickly dispose of the birthday girl's boyfriend (but it's okay, because he was a cheating scumbag), and begin their head-butting and raping spree, all the while shouting “I'm not going to hurt you, fucking cunt” in thick Dooblin accents.

The dialogue is realistically inane; following the principle that repeating things is far more effective than writing a good script, there are lots of “oh my god”s, “shut the fuck up”s, and “don't fucking move”s to break up the incessant screaming, wailing, crying and moaning. The girls are utterly useless – devoid of any characterisation, at no point do they try to escape or fight back. Nor, inexplicably, does anyone appear to have a mobile phone, yet they drag that camera wherever they go, ready to film the next blurry, unlit room.

After some mindless violence and sexual attacks, things take a turn for the supernatural, as evidenced by the epilepsy-inducing flashes of static, ominous tones, and blurry goat's head imagery. Everyone ends up separated, the scobes disappear, and the girls are picked off one by one. Running aimlessly around the vast warehouse, every door is locked, there are no windows, and the building is a bizarre combination of newly refurbished office space, and ancient, cavernous brick basements. Oh, and a room covered in satanic symbols, of course.

Having run out of dead ends to explore, eventually the video tape finishes – I won't ruin it for you, but suffice to say, how the camera came to be in a pawn shop is utterly illogical and makes it impossible to establish a time-line between the filmed events and its viewing. Having witnessed an hour of rape, murder, and supernatural weirdness, the man decides not to hand the camera in to the police, but to go and investigate himself. The last twenty minutes may not be filmed with a shaky hand-cam, but it is still poorly lit, repetitive, and stupid, right until the last moments.

Despite some effective, if unoriginal moments, THE INSIDE is dull – filled with characters it is impossible to care about, flitting between psychological human chiller and unexplained, supernatural horror, with a desperately tedious screenplay, this is a confused movie with tacked on additions to compensate for a lack of focus or an interesting concept.

Becky Bartlett.

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