When two sisters go to an isolated cabin in the woods to film a passion project, family secrets start to get in the way, as do masked strangers filming a passion project of their own.
A group of young adults head out to a cabin to shoot a movie. Led by Robin (Karli Hall) they have been informed they are staying at the cabin with the intent of making a film. Robin, a new fledgling film maker, is determined to make a motion picture that details her, her husband, and her sister’s life. The film will actually address some of their past traumas, pains, and more dramatic episodes.
The group includes:Joanna, a girl hired to play the part of Robin, Aaron, another actor playing the part of Robin’s husband, their friend Doug (Jake Ferree) and Robin’s sister Cody (Amanda Kathleen Ward) who assists per way of filming behind the scenes footage for the release.
This summary of premise makes it clear that the film itself “They’re Inside” was designed to be an entry into found/cam recorder footage movie class. Under the direction of John-Paul Panelli, They’re Inside” does take a familiar approach, one that is not uncommon these days to several products. In fact a few months back I had the pleasure of watching a similar premise and setting called “Found Footage 3D (2016)” (which if I might add, was actually pretty damn good!) which pulled a twist on the whole movie-within-a-movie-within-a-movie. “They’re Inside” is one of those.
The initial set up of this film, the prologue (if you will), is designed to introduce our audiences to a “Strangers” movie-influenced slasher style setup. I’m guessing that any movie review published on this film will make mention on this since the movie directly uses the same kind of masks (combined with young people killing others on camera) However with that said, there appeared to be a different direction intended here. While there is some assumption of where this is going, I’m guessing that those elements were designed to be slightly more misdirectional.
As the film shoot progresses, the occupants subjected to a remote situation, begin to become a bit unraveled. This emanates with a sensitive script that touches a few tension points for Cody and Robin. This escalates with the arrival of a rather quirky nearby neighbor who insists on chopping wood at night, followed by the awkward evening visit from his wife.
A phone that doesn’t work, weird people nearby, and a remote cabin that is a bit of a hike to the nearest town fuels the anxiety. Paranoia and discomfort set in, all the while combined with a uncomfortable film being shot to run parallel with.
As this all progresses, so does the looming threat of outsiders. The outsiders in this case appear wearing masks while hacking into victims without apparent cause. The FX work here is pretty snazzy, with visceral scenes being exactly that, visceral. Dramatic performances are raised and heightened, with terror now being a concern and factor to the story line.
Upon finish of “They’re Inside”, it was clear that the film makers were taking the premise to that which resembles more of what you would expect from a film student project. Deep metaphors, messages, tropes, and even sometimes eloquently written script pieces woven throughout, “They’re Inside” ends on a rich 3rd act deep in all of that. The trouble here is that while cinematic directions are appreciated, it tends to confuse the script a bit for those of us who really just sat down for a horror film viewing session.
If I were to give a more accurate review of this 3rd act, it might require me watching it 2-3 times more to connect the dots. Needless to probably say, key elements here include misdirection, flip flopping, richly literal dialog changes, murder, humility, and a variation of Stockholm syndrome.
Acting here ranged from great performances to average (I won’t point fingers) adding dynamics to a film that ranges in great to sub par to confusing. Instead of calling out the disappointments, rather I invite viewers to take a gander and comment below. I am most interested in how you perceived the outcomes and how it all felt to you. Great murder scenes add a needed boost to the story, while following its intent to provide something slightly different to viewers.
“They’re Inside” is a movie that begs discussion.