Brand new teen scream There’s Somone Inside Your House is now available on Netflix, just in time for Halloween. With horror legend James Wan on board as a producer, and with the film being based on a very popular book, hopes were high for this one. Ultimately, while it’s not the worst watch, it falls a little flat.
Based on the best-selling novel by Stephanie Perkins, the movie follows a group of teens at a seemingly normal high school in a seemingly normal town. However, a serial killer wearing a mask of their victims’ faces starts killing the students off in seemingly targeted attacks while also exposing their deepest darkest secrets. It’s very much a teen scream, following a fairly typical slasher formula, and while there are some appealing aspects to the film there are also a lot of flaws.
The film starts with a pretty decent cold open that sets a tone. Audiences see the killer’s first attack. It’s a full scene, nothing left to the imagination, and while it does do the job of sucking viewers in it also gives quite a lot away. The viewer can see exactly why people are going to be killed, and the reveal of the victim-faced masks is also done right at the beginning. The kill itself is decently gory and well-done, something that continues to be a strength of the movie throughout. It’s very reminiscent of the Scream opening scene and could be a reference to that film.
As the opening scene introduced a positive in setting the standard for the kills, it also introduced a negative in the very Scream-esque tone. This carries on throughout, and it’s not good. While it might have just been an attempt at a general 1990’s horror throwback, it doesn’t feel that way. It actually reads very much like a mashup of Riverdale and Scream, with the worst parts of each works coming through. If the cheesiness, bad dialogue, and predictable plot were supposed to be campy and cheeky, as Scream and Riverdale both are, it doesn’t convey this convincingly at all.
The characters in There’s Someone Inside Your House are also really strange. It’s a diverse cast with pretty good acting and that’s definitely a benefit. Diversity especially is something that needs to be seen more so it’s important to celebrate it, especially as these characters are very much just people and not stereotypes based on their various identities (for the most part). However, they are often really contradictory and it’s kind of annoying. While on one hand they’re ultra-woke and meant to be the nice group of oddballs in the school, they’re also very judgemental and often make jokes about the murders of their classmates. They also do really awful things like drive while under the influence, which is really uncharacteristic of woke Gen Z kids that they’re trying to portray. These teens also lack a lot of chemistry with each other, which is really noticeable because there are multiple love stories at play here.
This aspect, along with a few others in the movie, just doesn’t make any sense at all and reads as very forced. For example, the motive of the killer is seemingly very clear from the beginning of the film. They’re killing teens who pretend to be something they aren’t, punishing them and in turn revealing all of their secrets. None of these secrets are worthy of being murdered for, but one, in particular, seemed to really make no sense. And that’s the case for a lot of events in this movie. They either feel unnecessary and have nothing to do with the plot, or they’re trying to force something that just wouldn’t make sense with the already established characters and rules. Nothing about this movie seems natural or realistic or like it would actually happen, and while that’s not the worst offense in the world it can be kind of offputting.
With all of these flaws, there are still aspects that make this movie worth watching. For the most part, it isn’t boring. That’s really one of the most important aspects of a horror movie, especially in the slasher genre. It’s meant to be a little bit more surface level because that’s just the style of movie it is. And There’s Someone Inside Your House does its slasher elements well. It’s fun to watch, and it’ll be great at Halloween time to put on at a party or watch with friends. In that respect, it completely does its job even if it sacrifices some elements that would make it a traditionally “good movie”.
It’s also important to think of the target audience. This movie is made for Gen Z; it’s made for teens. The characters are teenagers going through teen issues and living life with that perspective of our current culture. While it might not be up to standards as this generation’s Scream, it’s easy to see why that age group would be into this movie. And there’s absolutely a lot of merit in that.
Ultimately, There’s Someone Inside Your House tried. It tried to make a statement. It tried to appeal to nostalgia, while also being new and modern. Not all of these aspects work and people who take film and the technical aspects of filmmaking very seriously, will not like it. It has a lot of flaws. People who are teens just getting into the horror genre, or those who just want something fun and a little silly to put on this Halloween, will get something out of it. That being said, The Fear Street Trilogy and Scream would probably serve as better options.