“There’s Someone Inside Your House,” now streaming on Netflix, throws a Halloween assortment of slasher movie standards together, like good looking teenagers with dark secrets and a masked killer, to tell a story that falls somewhere on the Creep-O-Meter between “Scream” and “I Know What You Did Last Summer.”
Based on the Stephanie Perkins young adult novel, the story focusses on Makani Young (Sydney Park), a Hawaiian teenager who moved to a small Nebraska town to live with her grandmother after a traumatic incident at her old school.
At Osbourne High she is just one of a large group of kids harbouring shady pasts. The bloody, brutal murder of football star Jackson (Markian Tarasiuk) rocks the school, revealing a masked killer on the loose who exposes his victim’s darkest moments before offing them. And get this, the killer wears a 3-D printed mask of his victim while they do the dirty deed.
As the bodies pile up, Makani and her pals—imagine a modern day “Breakfast Club” comprised of astrophysicist Darby (Jesse LaTourette), a pill-popping smart aleck (Anthony Timpano), Zach, the son of a local farming magnate (Dale Whibley), Makani’s ex (Théodore Pellerin) and the kind-hearted Alex (Asjha Cooper)—investigate, hoping to end the killing spree before the killer ends their lives.
“There’s Someone Inside Your House” starts strong with the gruesome killing of the football star. It establishes the movie’s “the bloodier the better” attitude but while the killings continue, director Patrick Brice is more interested in the shocking secrets of the characters than their deaths. Sure, there are horror movie settings like corn mazes and long, dimly lit corridors, but Brice wants us to see the darkness of the characters, which is often hidden just under well-manicured surfaces. A perky high-school student council president, for instance, is revealed to be a closeted racist in a rather spectacular manner.
But, despite the sociological look at the lives and deaths of its characters, the film may have worked better, however, if we cared more about the people on screen. There are reveals, but Brice doesn’t allow the teen relationships to blossom, or the characters to create individual personalities. We get to know about Makani and her life, but her friends are all out of Central Casting. “You have no idea who I am,” the killer says when revealed. “You don’t even know who you are.” And, unfortunately, neither does the audience.
Brice attempts to drag “There’s Someone Inside Your House’s” throwback genre into the present with a mix of old-school thrills, modern cultural norms and a killer who takes the term “cancel culture” a bit too seriously, but never quite gets there.