DVD: Interior, The (2015)

August 30, 2016 | By

Interior2015_sFilm: Good

Transfer:  Excellent

Extras: Good

Label:  Syndicado

Region: 0 (NTSC)

Released:  August 30, 2016

Genre:  Thriller / Horror

Synopsis: A burnt-out ad man escapes to the B.C. interior and is taunted by strangers real or imagined.

Special Features:  Audio Commentary #1: director Trevor Juras and actor Patrick McFadden / Audio Commentary #2: director Trevor Juras, actors Patrick McFadden & Ryan Austin, and cinematographer Othello J. Ubalde / Deteled Scene (1:14) with optional director commentary / Trailer.

 


 

Review:

Trevor Juras’ feature film debut borrows a bit from The Blair Witch Project (1999) in being a compact, simple story with surrounding natural elements to tease and built tension, ultimately giving audiences more than a fair share of scares before a finale that more or less brings the fate of former ad agency burnout James (Patrick McFadden) full circle.

The first 25 mins. focus on a mass of stressors that ultimately push James to walk away from society, including his puzzled girlfriend and any chance at restarting life with a new career in Toronto. Actual (and imagined) health issues are immaterial – he’s exhausted, and wants to flee – so he smash-cuts from life in a typical downtown glass condo with a skyline view to trekking the wilds of Salt Spring Island, B.C., gradually moving deeper into the bush until there’s no human, animal, or trace of civilization in sight or sound.

Juras often sticks to poised wide shots or eerie tracking movements, allowing the splendor of forest mist, overcast skies and a continuous peppering of rain to dominate the soundtrack, immersing the audience into James’ remote world. Once in a while a classical piano cue gives momentum to the drama as James is intensely focused on the minutia of being alone – sitting, sleeping, cooking gruel over a tiny gas stove, and relieving himself in the bush – which makes any sudden encounter with a passing stranger deeply unsettling.

From sounds to missing and moved objects, and little midnight nudges, James is clearly not alone. Juras contrasts staid natural sounds or lengthy piano-scored montages with sudden synth cues by Tomas Jirku or sound effects like the loud cracking of wood, and when a figure appears, it’s suitably weird and surreal, but Juras’ script is both threadbare and loose, making James’ wandering montages sometimes feeling like slight narrative padding to push the film’s brief running time towards the 80 min. mark.

The conceit for all that movement is James striking camp and resettling elsewhere after near-miss or direct taunts, but why he insists on staying in the bush is presumably rooted in a primal urge to defend territory; this is his land, and whomever’s trying to scare him away should just fuck off.

How long he’s in the woods stays vague – the emerging beard and a frosty morning infers maybe a month – and he’s apparently well-stocked on morning gruel for his walkabout in B.C.’s interior, but Juras’ film rests somewhere between an expanded short and a loose feature.

What helps sustain most of the drama is the impressionable pre-credit Toronto scenes which are low-key and packed with dry humour, making sure James’ predicament is very clear. The horror elements in the final section recall Everett De Roche’s eco-thriller Long Weekend (1978), where odd things happen, people go mad, and Nature just continues as the cadavers are claimed by the environs in a similarly loose and ambiguous story.

Syndicado’s MOD DVD spots a deleted scene (with optional director commentary) that was wisely excised, given it shatters the illusion of James’ self-directed seclusion, whereas the dual commentary tracks tend to repeat details, and really don’t elaborate on the project’s genesis, production, shaping, and reception; instead of genuine insight, it’s basically friends hanging out and recording chatter in two rounds with spurts of silence.

The disc offers a very sharp transfer that flatters Othello J. Ubalde’s fine cinematography, and the sound mix is deceptively subtle until some genuine shocks give the viewer solid jolts. Juras, a former casting director for an ad agency, worked with a strong set of actors, many of whom appear in his prior short films.

The Interior is available in multiple digital and physical formats via the filmmaker’s website.

 

 

© 2016 Mark R. Hasan

 


 

External References:
Editor’s BlogIMDB
 
Vendor Search Links:
Amazon.ca —  Amazon.com —  Amazon.co.uk

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Category: Blu-ray / DVD Film Review

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