[Warning: The following contains spoilers for There's Someone Inside Your House. Read at your own risk!]
It's October, which means streaming platforms are going into overdrive with stories both spooky and blood-spattered. Netflix is still flying high after this summer's successful Fear Street trilogy, and it has a new horror movie you really ought to check out called No One Gets Out Alive. But the streamer's latest, the high school-set There's Someone Inside Your House, while not a total disaster, is pretty weak. Still, its likely placement atop your algorithmically determined home screen may get you wondering what the heck it's all about.
There's Someone Inside Your House is, sad to say, a pretty generic teen horror film with a barely-there premise and a not-very-interesting twist. There aren't even that many people inside of other people's houses!
It starts when a douchey jock bro takes a nap before the big game, only to wake up to find his phone is missing and there are pictures of him beating the snot out someone in a hazing ritual hung all over the place. Someone dressed as him (and wearing a 3D printed mask) appears, kills him, then sends the images to everyone in their small Nebraska town.
But before the funeral even happens, another high school senior gets carved up (and left hanging in front of the church altar) as the killer/investigator pipes in audio of an episode of her racist anonymous podcast.
Someone is uncovering secrets and slicing up the jerks in town, and our heroes — a band of unpopular kids comprised of ethnic and gender minorities — have mixed feelings. They're not really into murder, but, well, they're not exactly grief stricken over the losses.
One person, however, has worries. That's Makani (Sydney Park), our hero, a transfer student from Hawaii who, we quickly put together, is keeping some secrets even from her closest friends. The hope is the killer gets found before the killer finds out about her!
There are some formidable players behind this project. One of the producers is James Wan, one of the most successful horror creators of the current age, giving us both the Saw and Conjuring franchises. (He's also the director of Aquaman, which, the more you think about it, really is the best.) Also behind the scenes in Shawn Levy, director of hits like Night at the Museum and Free Guy, as well as a producer on Stranger Things. The screenplay is from Henry Gayden, who wrote the recent Shazam!, and it is adapted from a book by prolific author Stephanie Perkins. The director is Patrick Brice, who has made some lower budget horror movies prior to this.
The picture stars a slew of young folks as the on-edge high school students whose secrets might be publicly exposed. Our central figure, Makani, is played by Sydney Park, who was also in the recent Netflix high school movie Moxie! She's pretty good. The rest of the cast is pretty forgettable, sorry to say.
I've gotta say no, it does not. The movie sets up that the creepy, "disturbed" loner (with the cop older brother) named Ollie (Théodore Pellerin) is the killer, so that clearly means it isn't him.
With that possibility scratched off, it's obvious that it's Zach, the angry rich kid in the clique played by Dale Whibley, who is behind it all. For one, he's got a Draco Malfoy look, plus he's the only one with the means to get his hands on a 3D printer. And if a dunce like me can predict the ending, then you know it is bad.
The other problem with There's Someone Inside Your House is that Zach has no motivation for many of the kills. We know why he kills his father, but why did he kill his buddy Rodrigo (Diego Josef)? And is Rodrigo's secret — that he takes prescription painkillers now and then — so horrible? The one thing that unites every kid in this school is that they all toke up (even the hyper-smart, NASA-bound Darby, played by Jesse LaTourette), so why would they be scandalized by this? Weird.
Also, finding out Makani's big backstory — that she is responsible for accidentally injuring an old friend (but the kid is okay now) — feels a smidge low stakes.
Finally, we're supposed to be scared by the 3D masks, but, honestly, they look weak. The masks barely look like the person they are supposed to look like. There's even a line of dialogue in the mix at one point explaining, "It looks like me!" or something, which I would guess is there because when the filmmakers got to post-production they saw they had a dud of an effect.
I don't want to totally slam this movie. It isn't bad so much as just not-good. The performances are solid, and there are some grace notes. Among them, the princess-y valedictorian loudly espousing her support of the non-binary Darby when they certainly didn't ask for it. I also liked the gag of people not really knowing the dictionary definition of the word "sociopath." This has long been a pet peeve of mine, and it was nice to see it addressed here.
It's a pity about There's Someone Inside Your House, but the good news is that there's surely another new teen horror on our streaming services ready to pounce when we least expect it!
There's Someone Inside Your House is available to stream on Netflix.