The Reel Review


Willem Dafoe stars in this psychological thriller about a high-end art thief trapped all alone in an abandoned, highly-fortified, luxury New York City penthouse after his heist goes sideways. Surrounded by priceless works of art and with very little food, the water cut off, and a broken thermometer causing temperatures to fluctuate wildly, he must use his wits and determination to figure a way out.

Willem Dafoe in Inside

Despite a committed, all-in performance from Dafoe, this English language debut from Greek director Vasilis Katsoupis and written by Ben Hopkins (The Nine Lives of Tomas Katz) is more akin to watching torture porn in slow motion – tedious in the extreme. Seriously, what’s the point?

Willem Dafoe reaching for a way out, in Inside

A slick-looking set with lots of long, lingering shots – presumably to create an artistic visual, and a handful of darkly comic moments – the best, a maid wearing earphones and using her vacuum cleaner to suck up smoke during her cigarette break outside his front door – are nowhere near enough to breathe life into this exhausting, overlong saga about an unlikable character trapped in a really bad situation.


• Willem Dafoe will be teaming back up with director Robert Eggers (The Lighthouse) in the upcoming remake of the vampire classic, Nosferatu.

• Director Vasilis Katsoupis says Willem Dafoe contacted him a day after reading the script to discuss doing the project.

• Although set in New York City, Inside was filmed in Germany in 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic with videos of New York City as the backdrop outside the penthouse apartment’s window.


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