Released: 6th October
Seen: 12th October
The slasher genre seems to be enjoying another big resurgence lately. With the monster hit Halloween, the upcoming Halloween Kills and the Scream reboot (along with Candyman, The Fear Street franchise, Wrong Turn and Spiral to name a few) all getting a ton of attention it seems as though everyone wants to revive the darling of 80s horror that was the slasher movie. The trick with slasher movies is you need to have a good villain to work with, an interesting array of victims and hopefully a lot of creative gore to excite the fanbase… There’s Someone Inside Your House certainly has some of those and an interesting idea, but that’s about it.
There’s Someone Inside Your House, based on the novel of the same name by Stephanie Perkins, takes place in small-town Nebraska among the students of Osbourne High. Things are going well for the graduating class who are just going through their last few lessons in preparation for the big graduation day when suddenly a killer turns up in town. Yes, a hooded figure who wears a mask that looks eerily like his victim’s face is running around town with a large knife and sticking it in people who have some quite shameful and horrific secrets. Once his victims are dead, the killer then tells the entire town just what secret the victim was holding back. Can the town solve the murders before everyone’s secrets are out? Or will it be down to obvious final girl Makani Young (Sydney Park) to handle things?
From the very beginning, There’s Someone Inside Your House is an incredibly stylish modern slasher film. Its visuals are crisp and clean as could be, some shots even downright beautiful in their horror. Every character is a witty teenager and is mostly well defined enough that you can tell them apart and even care which of them will make out of alive. While it never goes above and beyond to do something truly new or shocking, there’s a lot of great moments in this one film, such as a church scene where one of the characters is confronted with a recording of her spouting white supremacist bullshit and she ends up getting possibly the most gruesome death in the film. Indeed, every one of the obligatory death scenes is shocking and effective, and extra creepy thanks to the creepy Uncanny Valley masks the killer wears.
If you want a deeper analysis, There’s Someone Inside Your House is all about masks, the masks we wear in public in order to keep our private lives at bay. Every single character in this film has some sort of secret that they’re holding back, or that they’ve recently let go of. Secret crushes or revealing gender identities are big deals in this film that set up the theme that’s then kicked into high gear when the murders start happening and we learn that our victims have all done pretty horrible things that they would rather not have talked about… except for one.
The big problem I have with There’s Someone Inside Your House is that it has an interesting idea but doesn’t stick with it. The idea of people with horrible secrets getting killed creates a scenario where you can question the morality of everyone involved. The opening scene follows a jock who took part in a frat hazing where he brutally bashed another person, there’s the white supremacist in a church and other horrific events… and then there’s “The kid who is addicted to fentanyl” who gets possibly the most torturous demise and it leaves a sour taste in the mouth.
Once we hit that scene, There’s Someone Inside Your House really just starts losing its way. We stop really delving into the complex idea of people harbouring dark secrets and it just kind of goes to a generic slasher ending where everyone gets poked at with sharp objects until we have an almost respectable body count. There’s Someone Inside Your House opens so strongly with its story and the intensity of the interpersonal drama but once it fumbles at fentanyl it fumbles hard and never quite regains its brilliance. Hell, even the big “reveal the killer” moment isn’t that great, it’s almost overacted and not in the fun “Matthew Lillard in Scream/Rebecca Gayheart in Urban Legends” way.
There’s Someone Inside Your House certainly starts out strong and promising with an interesting idea, creative killer and a visual style that’s just a testament to the talent of the director and cinematographer working together effortlessly… but when it falls, it falls hard and never quite regains its pace. It’s still a decent time, it’s not a bad movie but it had the potential for being something genuinely special and instead it’s just average.