While many of us scoff at the thought of another remake, it doesn’t mean that all redos of established properties are inherently bad. Sure, there is an argument to be made that the reasoning behind their creation in the first place comes from a place of laziness and creative bankruptcy, but just like original films, you get good remakes and you get bad ones. Sometimes, the good ones are even better than their original counterparts, but that’s another an debate for another day. For now, let’s just focus on Inside, Miguel Angel Vivas’ American redo of the 2007 French film of the same name which many (myself included) consider to be a modern classic. This one, however, represents everything that’s wrong with remakes.
The story doesn’t stray far from the original at all. A young mother-to-be, Sarah (Rachel Nichols), is home alone on Christmas Eve when a psychotic woman (played by Laura Harring) invades her home with the intention of stealing her unborn child. What ensues is 90 minutes that feels like double that and all the stylish bloodletting on display can salvage any semblance of entertainment from this miscarriage of a film.
Every time I defend remakes, I always use the argument that they should be judged on their own merits. We should try to remove all association to the original and accept the newest iteration as its own entity. A movie can still be enjoyable even if it fails to capture what made the original so special or effective. Entertainment is entertainment, and even if it is presented as a rebranding of an existing property, it’s still something else entirely. That said, watching Inside made me question my own viewpoints and eat my own words to an extent, as this barely even attempted to establish its own identity — or any identity, for that matter. It’s essentially a retread of the original that fails to understand what made Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo’s film work. Vivas delivers an ample amount of gore and establishes that our pregnant protagonist is on her own, fending for both her own life and the safety of her child. However, it’s just hard to care about her plight in the slightest here since the film is entirely devoid of suspense. Even if the original — which is an exercise in suspense that made us fear for the main character — didn’t exist, this would still fail as a horror film. Vivas’ film merely prods along ticking off cliches until our mercy finally arrives in the form of the end credits and grants us sweet fucking release.
What’s even more disappointing is knowing that this is the product of a filmmaker who’s capable of so much better. His 2010 home invasion thriller Kidnapped is almost as savage and unrelenting as the original Inside. On paper, this is a premise that caters to his sensibilities and one in which he should have been able to do justice. Yet, it’s just a dull, flaccid and ultimately forgettable experience that will fail to convince viewers who are unfamiliar with his previous work that he’s a filmmaker capable of creating should be. You can’t help but feel the powers that be have played a hand in this and diluted it somewhat in a bid to appeal to a wider audience, yet no one was willing to bring something fresh to the table to make it worth anyone’s time. Gone is the commentary about femininity and the fear of being a single parent. Gone is the ability to put viewers in the shoes of an endangered protagonist whose life we fear for. This is the personification of a remake that’s worthless.
Skip this one and go watch the original instead. Otherwise, enter at your own risk and be prepared to spend the running time thinking about how much you wish you were watching Maury and Bustillo’s shocking gem. Hopefully you find something to enjoy, but I’m willing to bet that most other people will not.