Review: Retreading Explored Territory, THEY'RE INSIDE Is Still A Solid Entry for Slashers and Found Footage
It’s strange to see a movie so far removed from The Strangers, now eleven years removed, and even the sequel, which is over a year old, replicate so much from the now classic contemporary slasher. On the surface level, it’s easy to peg the new Dread title into a copycat of the masked killer slasher. However, against staggering odds, John-Paul Panelli is able to integrate another well tread genre into the DNA of the film and create something fresh for both sides.
Robin has gathered together a small group of friends to help her film a string on a shoestring budget, utilizing a giant beautiful cabin as a free film set, having acquired the residency to film in with a write-in contest entry. Among the friends are her somewhat estranged sister Cody, as well as her leads Aaron and Joanna and boom operator and P.A., as well as best friend, Doug. While things between her sister are already strained due to a past trauma, emotions flare even more when a series of strange events send the friends into a state of panic. Eventually, they discover they are being recorded and hunted by a murderous, masked couple.
The movie is found footage and while I’m sure a collective sigh was released upon reading that sentence, let’s face the facts. The genre isn’t going away. It’s become it’s own subgenre and when done right, it’s excellent. What They’re Inside does that is so difficult to do is create a slasher film within the genre. To capture the essence of the slasher, the stalk and slash approach, is often hard to shoehorn into the confines of the oft paranormal ridden found footage genre. They’re Inside manages to wiggle it’s way into the realm of logic, often explaining why the camera is running even beyond the confines of the movie within the movie, and not only does so logically but utilizes these reasons to craft some really effective spooky moments. The eighty three minute run time really aids the movie too, allowing for a swift pace that is always full with something happening, whether that’s pieces of the past revealing themselves or strange noises unnerving the film crew, very little time is dead air as we so often sit through in found footage. The visceral and intensity of the killers is also often amplified by static camera angles that are met with such savage ferocity.
The film is not without its faults. While the sisters Robin and Cody, played by Karli Hall and Amanda Kathleen Ward respectively, have an intriguing storyline, some melodramatic scene chewing is just a little too stage play to really hit all the emotional notes the script is striving for. While it has peaks and craters, with the killers played by Alex Rinehart and Matthew Peschio ringing true to slasher stylings, most of the acting just feels a little too over the top in its attempts to be realistic. The movie also rides the line dangerously close to being too much like The Strangers but luckily Schuyler Brumley alongside writer-director Panelli insert a meta twist right at the wire to prevent it from replicating the film too much and actually giving it a really fresh curveball.
They’re Inside isn’t wholly original but it doesn’t need to be. Panelli is an obvious fan of both genres and has his finger on the pulse of both. Although sometimes uneven, They’re Inside is a fun film with the meta awareness of a found footage movie and the physical brutality of a slasher, a film with fun duality and interesting direction.