Travis Leamons // Film Critic
THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE
TV-MA, 96 minutes.
Director: Patrick Brice
Cast: Sydney Park, Théodore Pellerin, Asjha Cooper, Jesse LaTourette, Diego Josef, Dale Whibley, Burkely Duffield, and Sarah Dugdale
Becoming part of the horror zeitgeist is a rare achievement. Hitting it twice for the same subgenre a decade apart is legendary and a major reason why Wes Craven is on the Mt. Rushmore of horror. With both A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984) and SCREAM (1996), he added new avenues for slasher movies – when going to sleep felt as unnerving as going for a swim after seeing JAWS – and jokingly poked (stabbed?) fun at some of the tropes found in all types of horror. When a character says he’ll be right back, horror fans know what happens next.
Patrick Brice hasn’t reached Rushmore status, but with his adaptation of Stephanie Perkins YA novel THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE he leaves the confines of the found footage style (as seen in his 2014 debut CREEP) to make a straightforward slasher where the villain roams the halls at a Nebraska high school as graduation approaches. At first, it appears the killer is systematically targeting the popular kids by exposing dark secrets and revealing them to the rest of the school after their murders. However, high school senior Makani (Sydney Park), a recent transfer from Hawaii, and her outcast friends think otherwise and start to narrow down the suspects and find out the one responsible. All that’s missing from their ensemble is a snack-craving Great Dane and a psychedelic van with “Mystery Machine” painted on the side.
Brice’s slasher doesn’t resort to parody and instead attempts to give a fresh take on Craven’s SCREAM. We have a talented young cast, an attention-getting murder, a killer whose face masks mirror those of the victims, a corn maze, and a perfectly placed synth-pop needle drop—a perfect combo for getting ready for Halloween.
Osborne, Nebraska’s finest, starts to look about as competent as Mayberry’s Barney Fife with each new killing. The high school temporarily closes only to resume class as the annual Corn Festival takes place. Highly problematic and not very logical. Then again, the movie makes several logical leaps. Ignore those and pay attention to the teenage body count. It’s for the best.
Having a masked killer unmask the secrets of teenagers is an interesting angle and fits with kids consuming and overly obsessing about what they see and share on social media. But when secrets are revealed at or shortly after the killer murders the victims, any secret shames seem to be diminished.
We all have secrets. Makani’s secret is so dark her parents felt it was best for her to leave their island paradise and travel thousands of miles to live with her grandma and a bunch of cornhuskers. Zoiks. She holds another secret from her friends by having a crush on the school’s biggest outcast, Ollie (Théodore Pellerin). Everyone fingers him as a prime suspect. Dressing in blacks and greys is a dead giveaway.
THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE doesn’t attempt to be a new age SCREAM, but with horror tropes aplenty and teen caste system (the rich kid, the outsider, et al.), it dons the appropriate mask. It’s a lightweight slasher with calculated misdirection and a fiery showdown inside a corn maze. No corn pops, but Brice’s latest might make you jump a little.
THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE is now streaming on Netflix.