There certainly was a good deal of resistance to the digital revolution in film, and in some ways who can blame people. There will always be something lush, vivid and real about film stock that digital will never be able to capture. However, film was always a prohibitively expensive necessity: even the most low-budget of movies had to spend half of their money on film stock and development. So thank god for digital is what I say – it has opened up movie making to talented people who would otherwise never be able to put their ideas up on the big screen. The Interior is a case in point.
What The Interior presents is minimalist film making taken to its limits. Although the first act does have other characters in it, the bulk of the film is literally one man alone in a forest. In fact if the end credits didn’t prove otherwise I’d be tempted to think it really was just lead (and almost only) actor Patrick McFadden setting up the camera on a tripod and filming his next scene. Of course, being a horror movie McFadden is NOT alone in the forest…
The opening segment of the film concerns McFadden’s deathly dull life working for an advertising agency in some anonymous Canadian city. He hates his boss, smokes weed in front of his doctor and dumps his girlfriend who claims it was nothing serious and then is broken hearted about how much time she has wasted on him. There’s some fun stuff as he imagines fighting his boss and the whole thing has a indie Office Space vibe to it. However the doctor he is seeing also suggests that there is something very wrong with him mentally and/or physically and it is shortly after this that we find ourselves in the interior of the film. Whether this is the interior of the land or the interior of his mind is the main question.
Right so this is where things get tricky as I’m going to discuss the end of the film so SPOILERS AND SKIP THIS PARAGRAGH IF YOU HAVEN’T AND OR DON’T WANT TO SEE THE INTERIOR. That question about what is the interior isn’t answered in the slightest. Plus I’m all for ambiguous endings if it makes you think but The Interior doesn’t have an ending at all. It just stops. There are a number of freaky occurrences which I’ll get back to, but we don’t build up to a climax, events just repeat themselves a bit and then the film’s credit rolls. The film is only 77 minutes long so the upshot of this is it just feels like they lobbed off the ending. Clearly this isn’t the case, every minute counts in a low budget movie so it must be deliberate but if there is some kind of resolution to the story then it is too obscure for me. I’m not sure how anyone can watch this and not throw their hands up in despair when we reach the end. I know I did. And that is a real shame as up to that point there have been some genuinely good scares.
(END OF END SPOILERS)
Writer and director Trevor Juras creates a brutal and bleak feeling of self-imposed loneliness in the forest that McFadden finds himself in. Giant trees loom over him like ancient tombstones and the feeling of doom and dread are palpable. Juras fathoms up some brilliant frights with the most basic of tools, for example when McFadden is hiding in his tent at night. Having his zip open up from the outside in the middle of the night when he thinks he is by himself is terrifying. The Interior does this scene even better that you’d imagine because it uses your imagination: it is done in total darkness. Literally all I had was a dark screen and the sound of a zip opening and I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
There are many other good scares in the back of the film but don’t expect much action, this is a slow burn of a movie. However unlike great slow burns like The House of The Devil, it didn’t have the payoff I hoped for (see spoiler above if you must). Maybe other people got more out of this than me. The bulk of the movie is interesting and different, beautifully shot and cleverly edited. It just didn’t add up to much in the end.