Where to begin on this one, it's been a strange sort of a journey on this little film. I'll begin this blog at the conception of the film and the idea itself and let it develop from there, cos that's the best way to do these blogs.
I'm currently eating strange american oreo biscuits that taste vaguely of peanuts. Just as point of reference.
** Note ** This blog, and the below video behind the scenes documentary is definitely spoiler ridden, but equally may enhance aspects of the film when you're aware of the ideas inherent in the piece. Or not. I've told you anyway, so I abdicate myself of any further responsibility. **
Just a little beginning note, The Inside premiered last year, August 2012, at Frightfest, London, UK, the biggest horror film festival in Europe, before having it's Australian premiere at Monster Fest, the biggest horror film festival in Australia, which was an awesome manner in which to open this film. Just so you know, cos I'm quite proud of that.....
however it doesn't differentiate between good and evil, and simply embodies a primal horror, laying waste to everything in it's path. The film then becomes a simple first person horror film until it's denouement. I did initially film with a second camera shooting in a conventional third person style, and had hoped to be able to marry the two styles and cross between them both. This was the original plan, and what I think would have worked better, it would have opened it up. After the first day I realised how problematic this was however, as lighting the scenes for a conventional set up as well as in the rough and tumble first person style, where I operated the camera and so could choose my angles and frames instinctively was impossible with just 5 days and very little prep and the minimal crew that we had. So I reluctantly abandoned that idea and stuck to just the one camera, the first person blair witch type idea. The opening act of the film was the main section that I had problems with in the end, as the film was an experiment all the way through, and the first few days (of a 5 day shoot, with eventually 1 and a half pick up days), were figuring out that style and I was torn between using both that it suffered until I settled on the one technique. I had maybe too many characters to begin with, and it made it difficult because of the style of the film, to fully empathise with anybody in particular. The visual style that I ended up using I was very happy with, it really worked for so many moments, and for the central attack section it couldn't have been executed any better or filmed in a different way, it would have removed the visceral nature of it. The horror sequences in the second half of the film are really accentuated by the first person camera by not being able to fully make out the environment or see what's going to happen.
The beginning and ending of the film, shot with myself acting, and with David Laird DPing with Eimear Ennis Graham (DP on Cold), was shot almost 13 months after the original film was completed. I realised I needed the pick ups, but because I was working I could never get the actors I wanted back or the availability of the location at the right time, and so we waited... . Both David and Eimear worked with me also on Stalker and Charlie Casanova, and eventually it made more sense to have them shoot it, and I'd just act, cos it's what I've done a few times, and they're both very talented....so I ended up in this film, entirely circumstantially, but that's how it goes. Once we had shot my scenes, and I had edited in the new top and tail, I handed it over to Kevin Whyms who proceeded to do a magnificently dark and fucked up score, like I knew he would. Greg French had done the initial sound design - the original intention had been to have no music, and just a crazy chaotic sound design but with the new ending it needed an actual score to lift it at moments, and it was awesome, Greg is a talented fuck, but it ended up needing the cinematic atmospheric kick. Kev did the trick. His score is now one of my favourite things about the film, as it always is, along with the performances, which are all immense in this film.
I have been asked, on numerous occasions where the darkness for the film came from, and if I have a love for horror films, and I must be honest, horror films scare the shit outta me. I could barely watch REC, and couldn't finish watching REC2 at first, in fact being made to watch The Exorcist is my idea of torture. I once watched The Ring alone late at night in Los Angeles, couldn't sleep all night, and had to go walking at 4am. So no, I am not a horror film buff. In actuality it would have helped had I been because I was a little bit egotistical regarding this film and did minimal research, must to the chagrin of my co-producer Franco Noonan, who adores horror and tried to get me to do a few more months research and sit down and watch as many films as possible. I declined, because I had wanted to go in with a relatively fresh eye. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. The day that we finished shooting I heard of a film called 'Paranormal Activity', which I went and watched, and was a little dismayed. I only watched REC and REC2 after completing the film, and having watched those since and analysing my own film I have seen multiple ways in which I could have improved it.
One of the big regrets that I have is that I didn't explore more of the actual creature physically on screen. Myself and Franco spent a while trying to get the right look for the creature, and I wanted it to be humanoid, and influenced by Stephen King's monsters. I wanted it to be a little like the Descent also, slow, but being able to move instantaneously without being seen, and yet achingly slow when being watched, an inexorable sort of evil. Nadia Macari did an incredible job with the make up and designed this epic visualisation on the actor Patrick Moynan, with a grotesque spine and a latex face. I had wanted the film to be mainly psychological however, as part of the experiment of the idea, and to that end I only wanted brief glimpses so as to leave it more up to the imagination. The creature was so expertly designed though that it was a travesty not to use him more. I had only 5 nights to shoot as I have said, and 5 nights is no time to shoot a feature, let alone a decent short, so there was no time to change anything, it was structured from a time point of view. When we then did pick ups, it was impossible to get Patrick back, and the make up had been too expensive to react. A genuine missed opportunity. C'est la vie. Interestingly enough however, many people came to me, with mixed reactions of disgust and 'enjoyed shock' at the violence of some of the sections, yet there is very little actual violence on screen, it is all seen off camera or massively implied (well most of it), but you 'feel' like you've seen things, and you project onto the characters the fear for them, and the pain they feel. The same with the creature, people feel they saw him enough, or he was shocking enough to make an impact, so maybe it completely worked. That's the beauty of film making, you always feel that you can do things better, but sometimes things simply work and are what they are, and The Inside is what it is, and it is one of those films that is an entirely subjective experience, which suits me just fine!
Here is the behind the scenes documentary, enjoy, and hopefully if you liked the blog and doc you can go watch the film....BUT, you have to watch it alone, and at night. One thing I did discover is that it's very much a loner type of horror, it's not a social movie, or a cinema film, it's suited to the style I designed it for, being alone, in a dark room, with an open door behind you at all times.....and headphones on....go on....try it.......trust me. I'm right......