Wild Women with Steak Knives: THE SHADOW WITHIN (Silvana Zancolò, 2007)

If you recently caught Taneli Mustonen The twin on Shudder and it feels like there’s something of a timeless quality to its script, that’s because it’s part of a long line of horror films that are clever enough to tap into something so deeply rooted in the intercultural imagination that it borders on the quasi-primal. The mythological power of twins – whether as signifiers of powerful goodness or something a little darker – is transnational and has a long and ancient history. The symbolic force of a divided, multiplied, or split self has been rendered since ancient Egypt as something inherently mystical, tied to the powers of a world beyond.

Of course, you throw horror into the equation, and that deep historical energy associated with the twins comes with an added spooky twist. At Kubrick’s the brilliant at Cronenberg Dead ringtones at Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala Good night mom, the spooky twins in many ways feel as much iconographically a horror staple as graveyards and creaking gates. Enter Italian filmmaker Silvana Zancolò and her 2007 English language film, The inner shadow. Adapted from the 1998 novel by Pascal Françaix black mothersthat Zancolò’s source material was written in the style of a young child’s diary proved a challenge when it came to adapting the story for the screen, but the centrality of the experience of the childhood and child’s perspective gave it a creative angle in the material that set it apart from similarly themed horror films.

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The inner shadow follows the story of two twin brothers, separated at birth by the death of one of the boys. Maurice (Laurence Belcher) is nine years old, and his mother Marie’s (Hayley J. Williams) grief over the death of her brother Jacques leads the child to increasingly try his hand at his ability to contact the dead in the hope it will make her mother happier. It turns out, however, that evil is on the way and that not everything goes as Maurice planned. As Dr. Prevost, Beth Winslet is a key character whose involvement with family and her journey into darkness amplifies the film’s central themes of grief, family ties, and questions about women and the duty to care. diligence.

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Bound by a visually arresting depiction of childbirth, Zancolò does not hold back its metaphors as moving imagery of water permeates the film and ties it stylistically as well as emotionally to its central themes. Among these, the specter of child abuse lingers, raising questions about the morality of children so inherent in the so-called devil child subgenre in a truly powerful and poignant relationship with the dark side of parenthood and the culpability of adults when it comes to their own capacity for violence against children (whether emotional, physical or sexual). Although not a big-budget film, the authenticity of this 1940s story, filmed right next to where the director grew up, adds to the gripping atmosphere of the film, making The inner shadow yet another female-led treasure trove of horror just waiting to be discovered.

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