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Fantasia 2015: ‘The Interior’ a fascinating and patient study of the onset of madness

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The Interior
Director: Trevor Juras
Runtime: 80 minutes

It’s always refreshing to see a filmmaker try something new with the horror genre even if the full package isn’t wholly unique. Enter The Interior, a low-key first feature from Canadian filmmaker Trevor Juras that is split into two very distinct acts.

Set in Toronto, the first act plays like a standard mumblecore comedy about a man in arrested development. We meet James (played by newcomer Patrick McFadden), a frustrated young man who should be happy with his life but remains chronically depressed. James smokes a few joints, records a rap track, loses his job and receives a distressing medical diagnosis when visiting his doctor. Wanting to get away from all the stress, James flees the suffocating big city and heads west on a getaway through the beautiful forests of British Columbia. It’s at this point that the title card appears and arguably this is when the film truly begins to take shape. As he retreats further away into the forest for some solitude he begins to experience increasingly inexplicable and strange manifestations, which leads to a growing sense of paranoia that someone or something is following him .

The first act of The Interior (which to be fair is very short) is dull and feels shoehorned in only to give the character some sort of back-story in the most sluggish way. Although it’s obvious that the comedic opening is meant to clash with the serious tone of the second half, it still doesn’t make for an entertaining watch. That said, The Interior is well worth your time if only for the stellar second act which suddenly shifts into a powerful psychological thriller. Once James realizes he’s being followed, viewers will feel his anxiety grow as he walks deeper and deeper into the woods. Aided by gorgeous cinematography by Othello J. Ubalde (also making his feature debut), a series of slow-motion shots, and a haunting soundtrack by Adam Osinki and Tomas Jirku – The Interior is one of the more interesting genre debuts this year. The piano-based score and aversion to dialogue really do help make it seem like your watching a silent film and for what is mostly a one-man show, Patrick McFadden carries the film on his shoulders with insight and tact.

The Interior really works first and foremost as a fascinating character study. As James makes his way through the interior of the forest, it becomes all too clear (as the title suggests), that this is a film about a man dealing with internal demons. A student of Werner Herzog, Juras certainly has talent, and a director to watch. The Interior takes us on a deeply disturbing, hallucinatory trip leaving behind some truly intense images which will surely stick with viewers long after the credits role.

– Ricky D


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