The Austin Chronicle

Fantastic Fest Review: There's Someone Inside Your House

By Jenny Nulf, September 27, 2021, 7:24pm, Picture in Picture

Netflix is in the game of teen slashers. With the hot wave of nostalgia for 90’s Scream-esque horror films, Netflix is grabbing any and every slasher property from a YA book they can get their hands one (see: the Fear Street trilogy over the summer): and now, There’s Someone Inside Your House.

Patrick Brice's film is adapted from Stephanie Perkins’ book of the same name, but you wouldn’t really know it aside from character names, location, and its genre. A book that was simple in its design, Brice’s adaptation complicates character motives while simultaneously thinning characterization. Brice’s film follows new girl Makani (Sydney Park) and her group of misfit pals whose high school is terrorized by a serial killer who is after students in their grade, a horrifyingly simple premise that is weighed down by bricks of social commentary.

The film is more or less written for the algorithm for a streaming audience: it hits the Hot Button beats that producers have recently been craving, manufacturing themes of race, economic class, and small-town malaise into a mush of a movie that ends on its villain yelling The Point, if you didn’t already understand it from the film’s previous 80 minutes of expository dialogue.

The film is obsessed with secrets, and small towns in middle America are full of them. The victims are all over the board, from hazers to raging right wing racists, and in one odd case, a shy drug abuser. The connective tissue is thin, but even so, the film’s lead Makani is convinced her “dark” past will make her a prime victim. Her secret, though, is misunderstood by herself: the abused who thinks they are the abuser.

There’s Someone Inside Your House is a politically muddy film. It’s a deflating product from Brice, whose Creep films are both unnerving and funny, a perfect combination for the tone this Netflix adaptation wanted the reach. However, it suffers from its own desires to please the average Netflix streamer who shoves a movie on in the background while they’re doing other tasks.

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