The Interior (2014) – Jim Morazzini


I almost didn’t see this film. Coming into the festival I knew nothing of it and the plot description didn’t sound appealing, I figured I skip it to eat. However after having it talked up by the fest’s director and finding out the director would be doing a Q&A afterward I decided I’d just have more popcorn for dinner and see it. I’m glad I did.

This is the debut feature from director Trevor Juras who has several well received shorts to his credit, most notably The Lamp. The plot is deceptively simple, a young man, James, already dissatisfied with his white collar job and life in general finds out he has a serious, but unnamed medical condition and decides to leave Toronto for an extended stay in the woods of British Columbia. After engaging in a bit of petty theft breaking into a house to steal supplies he notices a man in a red jacket watching him and begins hearing somebody prowling around the tent at night. Is it the home’s owner looking for revenge, another lost soul wandering in the woods, perhaps with less benevolent motives, or is it something much worse?

The Interior is a very quiet film, there’s no man in a hockey mask or Bigfoot prowling these woods. The film works by subtly cranking up the tension, incident by incident. The man in the red jacket glimpsed in the distance, something pressing against the tent in the night, a needed item gone missing, small things all building up to create unease and tension. This is at odds with the first act which is almost a comedy as we see James deal with obnoxious bosses, try to record a rap track, do stand up comedy. Once he’s diagnosed it briefly switches to drama as he wraps up his affairs in Toronto and telling his girlfriend he’s leaving (“I feel like a subscription that isn’t being renewed.” is her response.). Then once he gets to the forest it changes again into a thriller.

The film is also quiet in the sense there is not a lot of dialogue, even before he gets to the woods. Many scenes are shot without dialogue or sound effects just a music score giving a surreal, silent movie feeling to them.  Particularly well done are a confrontation with his boss and a panicked run through the woods at night.

The film is pretty much a one man show and Patrick McFadden, in his first feature, does an excellent job of carrying the film. He conveys so much with looks and body language as his situation worsens and things begin to unravel. He’s a truly talented actor and I hope to see more of him.

As mentioned previously this is the director’s first feature as well and he handles it with a sure hand and an eye for catching some excellent shots. He also wrote it, and while some of the dialogue is a little arch it’s a solid narrative and most of the dialogue does work.  I’ll certainly be looking forward to his next project.

As of now The Interior is still seeking distribution, though with the reviews it’s getting from the festival circuit it should find that soon. In the meantime, the trailer as well as the director’s short The Lamp can be found here For those who don’t need blood and jump scares with their suspense it’s a film to watch for.