The teen slasher genre has felt like it was in need of an update to catch up to the changing social climate, and it would seem that director Patrick Brice felt that way too, as exemplified by his horror-thriller There’s Someone Inside Your House, a slasher adapted from a novel of the same name by Stephanie Perkins and which attempts to update the tropes for a Gen Z crowd with varying degrees of success.
Taking place in a small suburban town in Nebraska, the film centers on a young woman, Makani (Sydney Park), who moves in with her grandmother, changes her name, and changes schools in order to escape a tragic secret. As it turns out, most of the students at her new school are harboring damning secrets of their own while a killer pops up and begins dispatching those who have something to hide.
The hook with this particular killer is that they create a mask of the person they’re targeting so that the last thing the victim sees is his or her own twisted reflection, a metaphorical representation of the mask they wear everyday to hide their true selves.
Though the title makes the film sound more terrifying than it actually is, the killer’s gimmick is creepy enough, and the kills are adequately gruesome, evoking the post-Scream slashers of the late nineties. It’s all far too clean and glossy to work as a genuinely scary endeavor, but it seems that Brice wanted to work within genre tropes and slightly tweak some elements to better suit 2021’s social norms.
This feels like a natural progression within the genre, versus an attempt to placate or pander, but this proves to be something of a double-edged sword as welll. The killer is predictable and, despite the more progressive themes, at the end of the day we’re still left with a standard slasher that doesn’t deviate from the formula quite enough.
All the revelations are anything but revelatory, and even when we learn Makani’s dark secret, I was left a bit underwhelmed. It does indeed play into the themes of seeking your own truth and confronting your past, but like many of the truths we see, there’s nothing mind blowing here.
Still, there’s a fair bit of fun to be had, especially for those looking to just have some bloody fun with a decent teen slasher, of which there haven’t been many released as of late. Having not read the source material, I can’t speak to the veracity of the adaptation, but judging it as a standalone slasher, for better or worse it’s the perfect type of Netflix title to watch for the upcoming Halloween season.