The teen slasher is in need of an update. Unfortunately, Netflix’s There’s Someone Inside Your House is not it.
This movie, based on a 2017 book of the same name by Stephanie Perkins, hits the same beats as a pillar of the genre, Scream, and before that, countless other slashers of various production value. There’s a masked killer, picking off a group of friends. One of them has a traumatic past and a secret. The killer turns their head real slow. The one genre update is that the killer is 3D-printing masks of their victims’ faces.
Director: Patrick Brice
A by-the-numbers teen slasher.
The film is miles away, at least creatively, from director Patrick Brice’s chilling found-footage debut Creep, or his work on HBO’s Room 104. Aside from a well-calibrated opening kill, TSIYH struggles to find a balance between funny, scary, and teen drama. It was penned by Shazam! writer Henry Gayden, and produced in part by James Wan (Malignant) and Shawn Levy (Stranger Things), which might explain the tonal mishmash.
Makani (Sydney Park) is the character haunted by her past, and Park gives her the necessary vulnerability, but what exactly happened in her past is never really explained, so the small-town Nebraska murders become a rote exercise after a while. Her secret romance with bad boy Ollie (Théodore Pellerin) feels a bit ham-fisted, possibly because Ollie looks like he was shipped in from another movie.
We get to know a bit about the racial and socio-political atmosphere of the high school and town, which does set this film apart from a lot of teen slashers. But more could have been done with the “I know your secret” aspect; the film wades into cancel culture and white privilege but doesn’t produce anything particularly revelatory. And the characters aren’t fully formed enough to really make us care about the issues they face.
If TSIYH were more self-referential—if it played with the beats of the teen slasher in a more creative way—it might feel less like just another title in a streaming platform’s branded Halloween release schedule.