Simon Cable (Ryan Phillippe) awakens in the hospital after an incident where, at least according to his physician, Doctor Newman (Stephen Rea), he was having convulsions and had to have his stomach pumped. His doctor is worried about him, for reasons that he doesn't specify very well to Simon, but Simon seems okay. At least until Dr. Newman asks him the date. Simon has to look outside his hospital window to even see what season it is, and he says that the year is 2000. It's really 2002. Somehow, he lost two years that he cannot remember. Worse, two different women seem to appear as his wife. The more he tries to figure out what happened, the more of a living nightmare it becomes. Is he losing his mind? The I Inside has him trying to remember his past, solve a number of mysteries, and figure out what is really going on.
That a film like The I Inside has an American release on the Starz! Mystery channel (and not until January 2005), while a film like Alone in the Dark (2005) has a major multiplex release across the country makes as much sense as leaving the Ferrari at home and cruising the strip on a tricycle instead in an attempt to impress the chicks. Even though it has clear stylistic and thematic precursors, The I Inside is a gem of a film that should have had a theatrical release at an earlier date. It ended up as a 10 out of 10 for me.
In a film like this, you can't say much about the plot without providing spoilers. To give you an idea of what the film is like, though, it would be sufficient to cite the other works that the I Inside cast and crew have mentioned as influences--The Sixth Sense (1999), The Others (2001), Donnie Darko (2001), Memento (2000), and perhaps most significantly Jacob's Ladder (1990). There are also a number of similarities to The Butterfly Effect (2004). But as The I Inside and that film were actually completed at about the same time, it seems like another of those too-numerous-for-coincidence eras when there was "something in the air" that led to a number of similar films. It's not that the films are copying from one another so much as that they share influences, ranging from precursor films to concurrent societal concerns and even scripts that are being shopped around.
The structure of The I Inside is complex from the start and increases in complexity as the film plays out. That director Roland Suso Richter is able to keep it as coherent as he does is a remarkable testament to his skill. Phillippe is in almost every shot of the film, as by necessity, we have to see the film as his character does, to piece it together with him. This is the best performance I have ever seen from him, and he's usually good. He has an ability here to turn on a dime and provide a believable character who gradually comes to a realization as he bounces back and forth between temporal settings. It's even more complicated than that, as when he's playing the character in the previous temporal setting, he has to be two characters at once--the character as he was when that temporal setting initially occurred, and the character from the later temporal setting experiencing it again, as a voyeur, while piecing together the puzzle.
Richter also manages an eerie mood of displacement throughout the film. This puts the viewer in a frame of mind similar to Phillippe's character, helping the viewer feel the disorientation and encroaching paranoia and madness along with the character. It works marvelously. It's also worth briefly mentioning the fantastic music by Nicholas Pike, as it does much to enhance the mood.
The I Inside is the perfect example of why originality isn't the most important criterion for a good film. Although it wears its influences on its sleeve (or its hospital gown in this case), this is one of the best films ever made in this horror subgenre.
Review by BrandtSponseller from the Internet Movie Database.