There’s Someone Inside Your House premieres Wednesday, Oct. 6 on Netflix.
New slasher flick There’s Someone Inside Your House is an unfocused, unsatisfying teenage body dropper that feels like a patchwork poser compared to other, better horror mysteries. It dresses itself up in a dozen gimmicks to make it seem like more than a copycat of superior projects, but just about everything going on here is underwhelming to a frustrating degree.
From the killer’s themed costume to the action set pieces to the actual reason the killer is killing, There’s Someone Inside Your House is a haze of slasher malaise. It’s also wildly inconsistent with its gimmick, messaging, and tone, wanting to be a Scream-style meta mystery, a Heathers-style high school satire, and a dramatic redemption story all at once. It’s so algorithmically thrown together that even the titular premise/promise — of someone being in someone’s house — doesn’t even hold for more than one kill.
That’s right, the gimmick isn’t even the gimmick. Also, the unspoken rule that the first two kills establish — that the local bogeyman is going after people who are secretly bad people — gets entirely demolished by the third kill when the target is a decent person. And if you’re wondering why there’s such a whopping irregularity there there, it’s because the entire movie is unstable. Right down to the final reveal — which is lazy, empty, and disappointing. At times, it feels like the film’s trying to say something about “cancel culture,” but once people who made genuine mistakes are lumped together with actual abusers and hate-mongers, the point dissolves into nothing.
Set in a rural Nebraska town, the film kicks off with a high school football star being killed in his own home (so the title holds, at first). As it turns out, the dude was trash. As soon as he’s snuffed out, by a killer wearing a mask that looks like the victim (that’s the M.O. here — masks that look like those soon to be stabbed), the entire community is shown the victim instigating a football team hazing ritual gone brutally wrong (because all slasher movie killers know how to message every single person’s phone at once). With the town reeling, the next then kill solidifies the fact that the murderer is going after people with dark secrets. Specifically, secrets about the victims being purposefully awful people.
Quickly though, that blueprint is ditched in favor of a story where anyone, including our heroes, who by all plot armor accounts can’t secretly be bigots or homophobes, are in danger. But then…it just becomes a story about someone killing any teenager in town for any reason. There’s Someone Inside Your House is a wholly crummy affair with no teeth, no point, and no heart.
The Walking Dead’s Sydney Park stars as Makani, a girl who’s recently moved to town, escaping a recent, tragic event who, like everyone else, becomes the target of this masked assailant because… she has a past. Again though, Makani, and her band of outcast friends, are apparently just as vulnerable as the killer’s first two victims, who are a nasty prejudiced people. And all the while the film plays the Red Herring shell game to the point where the killer really can’t be anyone except the one person that doesn’t make any damn sense.
Yes, there’s a certain formula that has, and still can, work for the teen slasher genre. But that also means it can easily enough get thrown together in a half-hearted manner for a movie that only seems to care about checking various genre boxes for the sake of Netflix’s “Top Picks for You” column than delivering something fresh and fun.
Admittedly, There’s Someone Inside Your House is a good title for a film looking to play around with tropes and get a bit winky and clever with set pieces. But what we get is a flat, muddled mess that fails because it just wants to have everything. It wants to have someone run through a house, but also a church. And a school. And a corn maze. Oh, and the corn is on fire like in Freddy vs. Jason. And the dad is a cruel real estate developer like in Heathers. And the deputy is a suspect like in Scream. And people are killed in ways fitting their individual hangups like in A Nightmare on Elm Street. It wants very much to be all the things, but in that effort it loses any semblance of a satisfying story.
Netflix Spotlight: October 2021