Review of the film “From The Inside”

 “From The Inside” is the latest creation of independent filmmaker Jim Haggerty and his company, Yellow Ape Productions. Haggerty has worked mainly in the horror and exploitation genre and he proclaims that his films are “movies for the midnight hour”. In the case of FTI, I feel that his proclaimation is correct. He has truly achieved his goal of creating a midnight movie and I thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, I do think that this is his best work to date.The film is exactly like something you would see from a studio like Crown International, in the 1970s. From the lulling and beautiful opening song (which is reminiscent of 70s films where tragedy befalls innocent people) to the moral questionablility of the events that transpire, this is absolutely a drive-in, grindhouse, after-hours film which delivers what that specific type of audience craves.

I’m definitely not saying that any of the filmmaking is poor or lackluster – on the contrary. This displays a new level of maturity in Haggerty’s style and it really is a finely crafted film. He has sharpened all of his techniques and I have seen a definite progression from his earlier works to this one. The writing is good, as always, but it is taken one step further because Haggerty has specifically chosen when to let the film “breathe” a little bit and let the visuals tell the story. What I mean is that he always writes with great depth and detail and he does the same in this case. But, there are times when he holds back on the dialogue and lets the film just move forward on its own. For example, there is one scene where the two brothers are in a car and it flows nicely, because it is not overdone with dialogue. Certain points are emphasized, verbally, but it is the motion of travelling in the car which propels the plot, in that scene.

Along with that balance of visual/verbal, the acting was better and more natural in this film, as opposed to his previous films. Yes, there are still times when lines seemed a tad “forced”, but I feel that Haggerty did get the best performances out of every actor involved. Brian Haggerty is very good and very believable, as the Detective. Jae Mosc – who is almost a staple of every Jim Haggerty film – continues to be entertaining and he competently brings that “everyman” quality to his role. In fact, he really gets the viewer involved in this picture because it is very easy to place yourself in his shoes and ask, “what would I do in that situation?”. However, the standout performance of the film was by Robert Lincourt, who played Bill Baxter. This guy was genuinely creepy, in a “Deliverance”, “Texas Chainsaw”, “Last House on the Left”, “Savage Weekend”, Lenny from “Of Mice and Men” sort of way. Get my drift? He was a joy to watch because his behavior was so odd and dysfunctional (at one point, you see him cowering by a refrigerator, like an abused child). He was like the Dennis Hopper from “Blue Velvet” of the film. You weren’t sure whether he was good, bad, or both and he made me uneasy the whole time that he was on screen. The guy’s appearance, mannerisms, and overall presence was enough to cause discomfort. Like I mentioned before, a lot of the power of this movie was in what was not said.

Also enhancing the viewing experience, the locations were an integral and successful part of FTI. It was great to see Haggerty take a large portion of the story into a forest setting. He does move back to the urban backdrop, later in the film, but it was nice to see the contrast between the two. I feel that the first portion of the film wouldn’t have worked as well, if it took place in the urban enivronment. Plus, it kind of mirrors the plot in which the wooded setting creates a “lawless” arena for events and the urban setting actually becomes a safe place where normalcy, order, and morality is restored. That type of location contrast is also reminiscent of the 1970s films in this genre.

The visuals were definitely a strong point and the set design worked very well with the locations. As a viewer, I was pleased to see a real forest home, the depth of the surrounding woods, the inside of vehicles, the opening scene on board the deck of a boat, and the traditional look of a police station. To me, the story is at the heart of any film and if the story is good, I do believe that all else will survive. Ideally though, the best scenario, is when the visuals enhance and augment the story, like they did here. Kudos to the set designers and their choice of locations.

The last key element to successful visuals was the strong cinematography, courtesy of Gareth Chater. I feel that Haggerty and crew were especially meticulous with lighting and angles, this time around. Action is centered, focused, well-lit, and there really is no scene out of place. Well, there is one exception; a scene, with the detective, took place in one room and the camerawork didn’t seem to bring forth the intensity which was needed (It also went a little long and it slowed the picture a bit). But aside from that, each scene was effectively shot, the editing was very good, and elements of Haggerty’s style were kept intact. For instance, there were two camera angles which switched back and forth to each individual character during dialogue. One character would face one camera and then the other would speak directly to the other camera. I liked that and it’s another instance which displays filmmaking maturity. It involves the viewer more when that type of camera interaction is used, rather than filming the whole dialogue from a side angle, where both actors are seen simultaneously. Yes, some of that technique is still used and is essential, but the other camera angles really liven up the conversation. Specifically, some of my favorite shots were when a trio or duo of characters were deciding what to do in a tough situation. The camera was at a low angle, facing up towards the actors and it really brought forth that “what are they going to do now?” kind of feeling. Also, I do want to note that the opening cinematography was superb and was a perfect companion to the song. Actually all of the cinematography fit well with the musical cues.

“From The Inside” is definitely a film that is worth watching. Haggerty and company display skill, maturity, and good-old-fashioned storytelling – which is an essential part of any effective film. There are many twists and turns in the story (I purposely witheld any description of the plot) and the performances and craftsmenship of it make you want to see what happens next. I am actually surprised that, albeit dark subject matter and ugly human nature, the film did leave me with a positive feeling. Just like its 1970s counterparts, this had that optimism and innocence that was characterized by the opening music. It shows that life does get crazy at times, but some good things will always come out of a bad situation. There is always hope. Well done.

Review and Byte by Peter Syslo    


4 Responses to “Review of the film “From The Inside””

  1. I loved it too!

  2. I just found the trailer for this on YouTube. Check it out!

    I want to see this!

    • hahaha yes! I must see this too man! classic looks fun…good entertainment! ha! I wanna make a movie, tell a good underdog story. 8-)… WORD UP! NinjaZzz (hey ur a ninja too!, I use the ninjaZzz all around the web!) CoOl man, take care…thx for finding this video

  3. Reblogged this on warrior4god333's Blog and commented:
    Sounds interesting I will have to check this out! 🙂

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