‘There’s Someone Inside Your House’ Starts Promising Before Ending Dull And Uninspired – Review
Slashers are in the midst of a very welcome and very inspired revival with a slew of films coming out in the past few years that have celebrated both the gruesome brutality and absurd sense of humour that’s been embedded into the genre. With new films like Happy Death Day, the return of the Halloween franchise, or even more recently and more closely tied to this particular film, Netflix’s excellent Fear Street trilogy, slashers miraculously seem to be here to stay as long as filmmakers have something fresh to do with them.
This is partly what makes Netflix’s newest teen slasher flick, the admittedly brilliantly titled There’s Someone Inside Your House, all the more disappointing. The film, based on the book of the same name by Stephanie Perkins, takes inspiration from several other slasher movies (the most obvious being Scream) but plays on more modern fears as well. Unfortunately, almost all of the film’s interesting ideas go nowhere by its end, and even its bloodshed feels redundant and directionless. Solid performances from its cast and a handful of clever moments aren’t enough to save it from ultimately being a bland and unfulfilling experience.
The story centers on a group of high school outcasts living in a small Nebraska town, including recent transfer student Makani (Sydney Park) who’s moved there all the way from Hawaii. When one of the school’s star football players is shockingly murdered in his own home, a wave of fear washes over the graduating class as one by one, students are killed by a masked assailant. But for these teens, getting brutally murdered is only secondary to the villain’s second plan: Once their victims are dead, they then upload all of their darkest secrets onto the internet for everyone in town to see.
This isn’t an entirely original angle nevertheless it’s an interesting one. The killer is seemingly going after bad people who have tried to keep their bad sides hidden – the football player, as it turns out, was an abusive and homophobic teammate. The next victim is outed as a vile white supremacist. So, the movie is offering the moral dilemma of “are these kids just getting their reckoning because of the awful things they’ve said or done? Do they deserve to die?”, along with tapping into the fears of how anyone’s secrets could be laid bare for everyone to see, largely due to how almost everything is documented and recorded now. No matter how much you try to bury it, the truth comes out, eventually.
There’s Someone Inside Your House never really seems to figure out what exactly it has to say about these things before eventually just tossing them, along with most of its other ideas, out the window. The killer starts murdering others that don’t quite match the same criteria, like a kid hiding a drug problem, and in another story perhaps that might turn into a point about how they’ve lost sight of their initial perverted sense of justice, but here it’s never explained. It’s a bit of a major problem when your villain’s motivations cease to be comprehensible, something that only gets worse once the predictable reveal of their identity comes to pass. Other things, like how Makani’s grandmother (BJ Harrison) sleepwalks or another character vowing revenge on who they believe to be the killer, never come back up after being introduced.
There are some fun sequences, a welcome dose of youthful energy, and some solid horror imagery – like a girl in a blood-stained white dress crawling underneath church pews – but by the time its lacklustre ending rolls around, There’s Someone Inside Your House simply feels like a hollow and increasingly dull picture. It doesn’t even bother with the promise of its title after the opening sequence; no other killings happen inside anyone’s house. The violence gets less inspired as it continues as well. Much of the film is bristling with solid ideas. “Sometimes it’s easier to be ourselves around strangers than around friends” is a great line, albeit delivered by a seemingly important character who disappears from the film after saying it. None of these ideas pan out satisfyingly enough.