The Willem Dafoe New Thriller On Streaming That Will Put You On The Edge Of Your Seat

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

willem dafoe
Willem Dafoe in Inside (2023)

While many nerds will always remember him best as the Green Goblin, Willem Dafoe has had a long and absolutely kickass career filled with challenging roles, and he hasn’t slowed down yet. That is certainly clear from his thriller Inside that is now streaming on Peacock: it had us on the edge of our seats the whole time and, more importantly, reminded us there is something to stream on this service besides reruns of The Office.

If you’d like to stay on the edge of your seat, often with your hand over your eyes, we recommend you stream it today.

Part of what makes this strange Willem Dafoe movie so interesting is that it combines a classic theme with a very modern setting. For example, Dafoe himself plays an art thief who has plenty of experience pilfering priceless works of art from the homes of the rich and famous.

The Willem Dafoe led thriller Inside is streaming on Peacock.

Based on this initial premise, we thought the movie would be more like a traditional caper: basically, Entrapment meets Ocean’s Eleven.

However, while he has professional contacts to help him pull off his fantastic thefts, Willem Dafoe’s character is completely on his own when he disguises himself as a handyman in order to break into the Manhattan highrise of a fabulously wealthy art collector.

It’s meant to be the kind of quick “in and out” heist he specializes in, but the aging art thief accidentally sets off the high-tech security system that guards the residence. This leads to the last outcome he was expecting: being trapped inside a stranger’s house and completely isolated, especially after his contacts abandon him to his fate.

That fate is surprisingly scary and shockingly grim for the simple fact that the wealthy homeowner doesn’t return. Soon, it’s clear that going to prison for his criminal history is the last thing that Willem Dafoe’s character must worry about.

willem dafoe
Willem Dafoe in Inside (2023)

Instead, as he is trapped inside a home with no way out, no way to communicate with others, and very little food, the urbane art thief soon finds himself in a fight for his very survival.

While some critics complained about the limited setting of the film (which, in our opinion, was kind of the point of the movie), most of them praised Willem Dafoe’s powerful performance as one that keeps you gripped to the screen.

There are many reasons we love Inside as a film, and one of them is that it’s a master class in making an entire cinematic meal out of very few ingredients. For example, aside from Willem Dafoe, there are only two other actors in the entire film.

The film is mostly limited to a single interior setting, but thanks to the many rooms of this exotic house and the skills of the director, it feels just as expansive as other movies where characters keep moving from one exotic locale to another.

Speaking of the director’s skills, special credit should go to director Vasilis Katsoupis: this was his feature film debut, and given the sheer quality of Inside, we’re confident that you’re going to be seeing his name quite a bit more in the future.

Inside’s Reception From Audiences And Critics

The movie made a big splash when it premiered at the 73rd Berlin International Film Festival. While it made a very modest box office of $897,190, this ambitious movie has found new life and a serious cult following on the streaming service Peacock.

Over on Rotten Tomatoes, Inside currently has a 62 percent critical rating. While some critics complained about the limited setting of the film (which, in our opinion, was kind of the point of the movie), most of them praised Willem Dafoe’s powerful performance as one that keeps you gripped to the screen.

Since this movie is basically a survival horror film, many critics enjoyed seeing Dafoe flex some of the same horror chops that he showed off in the excellent movie The Lighthouse alongside Robert Pattinson.

Ultimately, Inside is the perfect movie to watch for audiences who have been complaining that every modern Hollywood movie is just another lame retread of what came before. It’s a movie with a great premise and interesting setting, and it forces us to constantly ask questions about the thorny relationship between art, technology, and human suffering. The powerhouse performance from Willem Dafoe is the cherry on top of a film you’re going to be thinking about for a good, long time.