Written and Directed by: Joe G. Lenders
Starring: Corey Feldman, Tanya Memme, Joe Abby, and Susie Feldman
Reviewed by: Brett G.
ďThe meaning of life is pain.Ē
Itís no secret we love the Two Coreys around these parts. The cool thing is that both Haimster and Feldog both not only crossed each otherís paths on screen many times, but also crossed the paths of horror. They battled everything from werewolves to Jason Voorhees on their own before they teamed up to battle vampires. Itís always been pretty fun when either of these guys have shown up in this genre, so I didnít hesitate when I was given a chance to have a look at the latest solo offering from Feldog: a little independent horror/thriller entitled Terror Inside, coming to you courtesy of Cinema Epoch.
Allen Greenfield (Feldman) is a government worker who spends a lot of time on the road; in fact, he might abuse his traveling privileges at times to get out of the office a bit more than he should. However, heís doing it all for love, as he spends most of his time seeing his girlfriend (Tanya Memme) of two years who lives in a small town near Miami. On this particular trip, Allen has decided that heís going to settle down with Maria and move into town with her. Sheís not exactly receptive, but thatís only because Allen doesnít know sheís having a little fling with Joe, an independent contractor who digs up tar samples for the local university. Joe himself is also ready to settle down because heís just dug up the last of the samples. The only catch is that this particular sample is carrying some sort of disease that begins to spread throughout the town that causes the citizens to go a little crazy. They begin to inflict pain on themselves because itís the only way that they can feel pleasure; will Feldog be able to stop the madness, or will he too learn that ďlife is pain?Ē
Terror Inside is your basic ďsmall town gone crazyĒ horror film, in the vein of The Crazies. The most obvious difference is that the victims are suicidal instead of homicidal, which is an interesting idea that leads to some creepy moments. Like most independent productions, itís a film where the idea is better than the execution. Thatís not to say that the execution is especially poor, but itís average at best. Itís obvious that director Lenders knows how to put a film together, but the filmís low budget is apparent at various points. The most obvious point is the filmís overall look, as itís just a pretty basic digital production with little flair or style involved. Itís solid, but not exactly stimulating.
The acting is all over the board; this is a dialogue-heavy film, and some actors handle it better than others. Feldog is obviously the best here, and Tanya Memme holds her own. Everyone else is just hit or miss, but they mostly miss, particularly Joe Abby, who is stilted when heís not completely over-acting. Itís also interesting to note that thereís not one, but two Feldogs here, as Coreyís wife Susie makes an appearance as a local beautician who turns into a masochistic tattoo artist once the disease takes her over. Sheís fine in the role, though it admittedly isnít a difficult one to pull off. Try as they might, the cast really canít make their characters too interesting. I suppose thereís good chemistry between Feldog and Memme, but I think so much of that just comes from being a fan of Feldog himself. Say what you want about the guy, but he still has a natural charisma that he can bring to his roles.
The biggest problem is that there just isnít much for everyone to do. The film feels so padded at times, as it takes a bit too long to reveal just what is going on with the townspeople. Once it becomes apparent that everyone is gaining pleasure from pain, it still takes far too long for our characters to be convinced. The facts are spelled out for them multiple times, yet they still bumble around, which makes them appear to be incompetent. Once they start piecing things together, the film manages to pick up a bit, but it degenerates into a typical government conspiracy plot that weíve seen done so many times.
Horror-wise, I wouldnít say Terror Inside is gore driven, but thatís how it gets most of its shocks accomplished. The premise of people inflicting pain and punishment on themselves is ripe for some gore sequences, and the film sort of delivers. It doesnít really make this a focus, as we rarely see the act in progress. For example, the biggest and most impressive bit involves a woodchipper, but we only see the aftermath of the carnage. There are some other squirm inducing sequences, including a bit of nipple mutilation that actually is front and center. The only other time the film is effective as a horror film is when it goes a bit religious: thereís a scene where some of the remaining survivors have taken refuge in the church and look for answers through faith. The tone here is rather atmospheric and despairing--itís too bad that the film didnít do more with this because the subject matter lends itself to religious asceticism, and thereís something kind of apocalyptic about these fleeting moments in the film.
Unfortunately, Terror Inside just feels like a few decent ideas that arenít quite executed well. With a bigger budget and a tighter script, it could have been a decent little movie. Iíll always have a soft spot for Feldog, so the film was at least watchable for me--itís just a shame that Haimster couldnít join him on the screen one last time. Cinema Epoch recently released the film on DVD, and itís a decent package. The transfer is clean and clear, as is the stereo soundtrack. Special features include a trailer for the film and a still gallery, plus some sneak peeks at some other Cinema Epoch offerings. You can find the DVD at most online retailers, and the film is thankfully available to rent and stream on Netflix, which is really the way to go. If youíre especially a fan of Feldog and want to see what heís been up to, check it out. Rent it!
For more information, please visit the Cinema Epoch website.
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