“Mano y Mano” takes a back seat to “La Femme contre La Femme”
What could have been be a slow moving tragic tale of death and birth becomes the most treacherous tale of cat and mouse in the French horror A L’Interieur. Directed by Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury, this sadistic tale of envy stars Beatrice Dalle and Alysson Paradis.
In this gore driven drama a two car collision takes the life of the spouse of Sarah (Paradis) who is the driver and pregnant. We fast forward to find her alone and emotionally isolated from the world in her inability to cope with her loss. Refusing offers from her close friend as well as her mother, Sarah spends Christmas eve alone as she prepares to give birth the following day. Unbeknownst to Sarah, she’ll be receiving a visit from more than St. Nick on this holiday’s eve.
With a knock on the door, the hunt begins. La Femme (Dalle) enters the film with knocks and taunts leading to the violent pursuit of Sarah for the duration of the evening. She does this while keeping a close eye on all attempted visits. Each of whom is greeted to a bloody demise.
Much to the chagrin of feminists, I applaud this movie for giving us a great female villain and showing just how calculating, vengeful and scary females can be. It doesn’t hurt to have Dalle (who is known in France for playing creepy offbeat characters) as “La Femme” ie the Stalker. She is maniacal, relentless and just plain cruel on all levels of humanity. I only regret that we do not truly understand her character’s arc until near the end.
But this film also gets high marks on the flip side for a strong heroine that’s feminine in Sarah. Yes, she has a little of the tomboy in her, but to make Sarah a mother-to-be would normally lead to an ultra vulnerable character and she’s anything but…She not only holds her own but gives our villain a good chase.
In general, this film is not for the faint of heart and I dare say upon my second viewing (while I was pregnant) this movie topped my list as the most hard to watch of this decade (2000-2010)
But, if you really want a solid storyline that is not afraid of taking a film beyond ethical boundaries with gore, you’ve got a winner with this flick!
Needless to say; Freddy, Jason and Michael have got nothing on “La Femme”!
A L’Interieur (Inside), French, 2007
Written by Alexandre Bustillo
Directed by Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury
Starring Beatrice Dalle and Alysson Paradis