Skipper Joe: “At the end of the day, this is a ship—not a democracy.”
“Caught Inside” is a surfing term: When a surfer is paddling out and can’t get past the breaking surf to the safer part of the ocean in order to find a wave to ride, he or she is “caught inside”. Caught Inside is also an Australian Psychological Horror movie where the title takes on a sinister double meaning as a metaphor for rape.
Check out my review after the jump.
Official Synopsis: Ever been stuck with a friend who crosses the line? A surf charter to remote paradise. A bunch of mates, uncrowded waves and one rule: Leave your girlfriend at home. When this rule is broken, focus turns towards a single female. She flirts with the attention of her captive male audience. Sexual tension, manipulation and deceit erupt into violence when someone, hell bent on getting his, has the group caught inside. Sometimes we suffer the monsters we create and, on a boat in the middle of nowhere, you can’t just walk away.
When a group of surfers convene on the deck of The Hedonist before heading out to sea, Skipper Joe (Peter Phelps) warns that one of the worst things that could happen is if “one dickhead ruins it for the entire team.” Since we already know from the synopsis that there is indeed a good-time-murdering dickhead onboard, here’s my challenge: Take a moment to predict who the dickhead turns out to be. If you think it’s initially obvious, know that my first and second guesses were both incorrect. That’s because the dickhead is, at first, completely camouflaged within the group of hot Australians. This is also an aspect of Caught Inside that is particularly terrifying: The Bad Guy isn’t an outsider looking to infiltrate the intimate crew, he’s already there—and even his friends don’t know it. It’s the chilling idea that someone you think you know is actually a complete stranger—a dangerous one.
Since the revelation of the dickhead’s identity is, in my opinion, the first shocking twist of the film, I’d like to praise the actor without revealing his name. Because he who portrays the dickhead is the glue that hold Caught Inside together and is the biggest contributor to the unnerving intensity the film elicits. While the character is truly despicable, the actor is incredible, and this makes me wonder why I haven’t seen him in anything else before this film; he certainly deserves more work and exposure. It’s a genuine tour-de-force that is utterly chilling is its realism. When the dickhead moves to endanger the others, it’s easy to ask why they don’t simply gang up on him. But when I put myself in their position, I was struck by how forceful and paralyzing this dickhead’s intensity was. He truly seems a man unhinged and capable of absolutely anything.
Caught Inside is the best Horror-in-Paradise/Trapped-at-Sea film I’ve ever seen: Scarier than Dead Calm, more disturbing than Donkey Punch, Caught Inside presents a villain more terrifying than the sharks of Open Water or The Reef. It’s one of those films that can make a paranoid person hide under his bed and abandon all dreams of a tropical vacation getaway.
The film tackles some very complex and uncomfortable issues relating to masculinity and female sexuality. Out in the middle of nowhere, the Laws of the Land seem to loosen their grip, allowing a more primal pack mentality to prevail; an Alpha Male reigns supreme and weaker men face retaliation for “jumping the queue”. Caught Inside also examines the way society demonizes sexual women, in this case introducing a character (played by Daisy Betts) whose exploits were filmed and surreptitiously leaked onto the internet (ladies, let this be a lesson to you). Regardless of the role she played in the film’s distribution (she had nothing to do with it and was mortified by the aftermath) the event is taken as an indicator of future behavior and somehow manifests perverted expectations. She’s presumed sexually available for the taking, which leads the film’s dickhead to treat her more like property than a person. Is the terror of Caught Inside the result of a perfect storm of sexual-aggression and circumstance or the result of a darker reality—one in which men lose their bearings when removed from society? Whatever your interpretation, the result is truly unsettling and evocative.
The scene where Alex (Leeanna Walsman) “interviews” the dickhead, attempting in vain to appeal to his saner sensibilities, is the emotionally-charged, deeply disturbing climax of the film. It’s part of a dinner scene that’s nearly as unnerving as the one in Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Caught Inside is a straightforward Horror film without bells or whistles that manages more genuine scares than most big-budget CGI cluster-fucks. Low on gore, big on impact, this one will put you through the wringer. Expect an intensely uncomfortable yet utterly satisfying movie-watching experience.
3.5 out of 5 Skull Heads.
Trailer: HERE (but it reveals the identity of the dickhead so don’t watch it if you want to be surprised).
|Directed by||Adam Blaiklock|
|Produced by||Paul S. Freidman|
|Written by||Joe Velikovsky