Have you ever had one of those times where you did something, and couldn’t quite figure out why you did it? Said something you immediately thought better of, or tapped out a song on the steering wheel before you realized you were doing it? Sure ya have; all of us have. The subconscious is a fascinating, sometimes scary thing – the idea of something not within our awareness controlling our thoughts, feelings, or even actions is a terrifying prospect…one that begs both a question of our responsibility for ourselves, as well as as the chilling query of “If I’m not in charge, who is?”
Insides is a new short horror flick from writer/director Mike Streeter that takes a closer look at the possibility of something…else asserting itself over the will of two young women, something that dwells within.
Two friends, Sandy and Selina, are having a get-together, seemingly for Selina to catch-up with her old friend and reminisce a bit. After Sandy prepares a meal for the two of them and they share a bottle of cheap wine over their memories, Selina begins to relate a strange feeling that she has to Sandy; the real reason she’s come back into her life. Selina has been having strange nightmares, nightmares about a tunnel, and something that gets…inside of her, something that is controlling her but is not her. She’s seen Sandy in these dreams, and the two of them share similar scars that each of them received during times where there are lapses in their memories; Selina’s on her stomach, and Sandy’s on her neck. Seeing how clearly freaked out her old pal is, Sandy insists that Selina stay over; it’s just dreams, and this shitty wine can’t be helping matters. They can talk it over in the morning, when both the sky and mood is brighter. However, in her dreams that night, Sandy finds herself nearing a strange tunnel, led by Selina…and confronts her own “inner” demons.
When she awakens the next morning, she finds that Selina has left…leaving behind a bloody mess in the bathroom, and a feeling of dread in Sandy. When these two old friends meet again, the lines between reality and horrific nightmares merge…and in such a world, is anyone safe?
One of the most horrific themes in all of our beloved genre is that of something actually being inside of us; a virus, an entity…I mean, seriously, where would Alien, The Exorcist, or Invasion of the Body Snatchers be without that simple fear of a stranger inhabiting our very bodies? Something there’s no possibility of escape from? Streeter does a great job of pulling on the strings of that particular fear here in this nineteen minutes that we’re taken by the hand. The choices of angles, framing and set-ups are done quite well within the location of the small apartment, and the exteriors that you will find might very well look normal in the daylight (well, maybe not normal, but at least a degree or two less frightening), but here they are made into fantasy-nightmare places from your darkest imagination. This impressive cinematography, coupled with a spooky score conspire to create a palpable atmosphere of building, relentless terror. The acting is very, very good for a film with this kinda budget (around 1500 bucks…yeah, you read that right), with both of the principal actresses pulling off both their friendship and their more horrific moments with skill. There are a couple of moments where I kinda squinted my eyes and thought “well, that doesn’t make a lotta sense“, but these were forgivable within the context of the flick. The special effects were not overworked (as often happens in a short), but they were visceral, impressive, and most importantly, practical! There are some nice shots in this department, and the red stuff, when it’s around, is all over the place.
Like any good short should, this one sets you up, knocks you down, and leaves you to pick up the pieces and figure it out. There’s no conclusion other than the one that we, the audience, draw from it; and that is the sum total of my love for the format. If you can dig that, then I very much recommend you check this one out if you get the chance.
I myself will be watching for more of Streeter & company’s work.
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