Art is life and death in They’re Inside, a meta found footage slasher for the YouTube generation, with shades of The Strangers and The Blair Witch Project.
When two sisters and their friends head to a rental home to film a horror movie, they are soon interrupted by two strangers wearing masks. What starts with the sound of an axe chopping something outside then leads to a knock on the front door from a woman, whose face is effectively obscured by the handheld camera’s angle.
If it sounds like a familiar setup, that’s just part of the fun, as the wannabe filmmakers discuss the tropes and cliches of the horror genre itself, while a dark family secret boils to the surface between the sisters, Robin and Cody (played by Karli Hall and Amanda Kathleen Ward, respectively), the younger of which was molested by their father.
With a nicely executed subversive twist, the masked strangers soon turn the tables on the young filmmakers and then on the audience in the process, as the found footage point of view changes to a different set of cameras. To say too much more at this point would spoil the fun, but I will say that the film offers up some pretty timely social commentary on what genre fans want to see in a horror movie and questions of violent complacency.
As “Rockin’ Robin” plays in the background, the sisters try to survive.
The searing finale is a brutal, unflinchingly long take that draws out the dread to such an extreme as if to ask the viewer Is this what you want?
In the end, the necessary collaboration that is making a film and that often creates a weird family dynamic on many movie sets proves to be a bond as great as blood. This is a film that asks uncomfortable questions, and will undoubtly leave audiences talking.
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