Directed by Patrick Brice
Starring Sydney Park, Markian Tarasiuk and Asjha Cooper
The slasher film has always been one of the most popular genres in horror films. It can be argued that slasher horror was born of “Psycho.” If that film was the grandfather of the slasher genre, the spark was lit fourteen years later with Bob Clark’s 1974 treasure “Black Christmas” and became a full-blown inferno of popularity when filmmaker John Carpenter made “Halloween” in 1978.
After the phenomenal success of that film, Hollywood ushered in the decade of the slasher picture. The eighties were filled with them, the “Friday the 13th” series, “Prom Night,” “Terror Train,” “Sleepaway Camp” among others, assured that the slasher film would be the most profitable and popular amid the horror genre denominations.
In the nineties slasher films began to vanish but director Wes Craven and screenwriter Kevin Williamson revived them with 1996’s “Scream.” That film was a mammoth success at the B.O. With good reviews from critics, horror fans flocked to slasher flick outings and the mid- to late- nineties were filled with films in which teenagers were staked by raving maniacs who killed them with knives, hooks and other niceties.
After another decade of slasher films at rest, along comes the new Netflix release, “There’s Someone Inside Your House.”
Adapted from the Stephanie Perkins book by Henry Gayden and directed by Patrick Brice the film is the story of a group of teens (who all hold terrible secrets) being hunted by a serial killer.
The film and novel add something fun to the style of the killer. They wear computer-generated 3D masks of their intended victims. As you are dying, you are looking at your own face. Although that nuance is heavy-handed, it’s nevertheless a clever idea.
A rural community is shocked by the brutal murder of high-school football player Jackson Pace (played by one Markian Tarasiuk). His death is the film’s opening sequence, and it is done by way of the right slasher tropes. Someone is inside the house. Jackson is alone and creeping through his empty home, knowing that the intruder is there.
There are pictures all over the house of a time when Jackson viciously beat up a gay teammate in a hazing ritual. His secret is revealed and Jackson is killed in a quick nod to the Giallo style of murder—gruesome and inventive to a tee.
The next murder is student body president, Katie Koons (Sarah Dugdale). She is revealed to be a white nationalist with her own underground podcast. Her death scene is also creative, as it takes place midday at the church where a memorial service for the slain Jackson is about to take place.
The diverse young cast is quite good as we meet our “final girl” heroine Makani (Sydney Park), who has a tragic secret of her own.
Once the murders are happening full-on and we understand why the victims are chosen, Gayden’s screenplay becomes cloudy regarding the killer’s choice of who needs to die.
Not that anyone should be murdered, but it is understandable if a horror film killer goes after bullies or white supremacists. One victim’s secret is that they are addicted to painkillers. I am not sure that is the type of skeleton in the closet that one should die for. Another character was not fully responsible for their dark secret where someone was hurt and carries around a deep regret. Maybe the slasher should have done better research into his victims.
What the screenplay and film get right is the commentary on today’s overreaching social justice warriors. These days, people are not forgiven for past mistakes.
The kill scenes are crafty, and the blood splatter will keep gore fans happy. The director balances the film’s message with the horror violence accurately.
This is a fun slasher flick throwback. Fueled by a moody old-school synth score from Zachery Dawes, there are thrills to be had and everything is done with respect to character and tone.
“There’s Someone Inside Your House” has enough to recommend it; this will be popular this Halloween season.