Ok, hands up anyone who has a dirty little secret? Something that will lower everyone’s opinion of them? Something where the merest hint of it being discovered is enough to make your legs turn to jelly and your guts to liquid? For a slasher movie whose killer’s modus operandi is dragging ugly truths into the light of day before sinking a knife into the guilty teen, There’s Someone Inside Your House has so little within itself worth discovering.
When I say ‘teen slasher’ you will have a litany of tick boxes drop, correctly, into your head. Our cast is a gaggle of high schoolers with their personality quirks boiled down to one essential element. There’s the self-proclaimed bitch, the druggy, the rich kid who hates his dad, the loner, etc. As There’s Someone Inside Your House is produced by Shawn Levy (Stranger Things) and James Wan (The Conjuring), and directed by Patrick Brice (Creep) you’d expect these base ingredients to be whipped up into a stylish pudding, ready to be splattered across your plate. Not so, sadly.
The movie is led by Makani Young (Sydney Park) who, along with her sleepwalking grandma, recently moved to a small town in Nebraska; the kind of place where the local swaggerer in power is a cornfield tycoon. The circumstances of her move are clearly secretive (as a series of flame licking flashbacks suggest) so when a killer begins hacking up her fellow students and airdropping their worst secrets to everyone in the town as they do so, Makani is worried she might be next.
Worried. She doesn’t do anything about it, nor do her friends. The threat of imminent death seems to have little impact on a plot that operates in two separate worlds. There’s Someone Inside Your House as a title would suggest an element of home invasion horror, but far from there being dangers lurking in every corridor and stalking our cast, the killer simply turns up from time to time to try to install some sense of urgency into proceedings. Instead of fear, the dynamic between our cast lay more in pointing fingers to assign blame.
Chief suspect is Ollie, a loner with a dark past that Makani happens to have been sleeping with since her arrival in the town. Actor Théodore Pellerin’s quiet dignity in the face of Makani pretending he doesn’t exist when her friends are around reminded me of Dodge in Panic. Like Dodge, Ollie is wonderfully understated whilst everyone else around him sticks rigidly to their one-dimensional, one-sentence character descriptions.
The death scenes themselves are well done, showcasing an inventiveness that the surrounding movie otherwise lacks. In this Scream-lite outing, our deliverer of death constructs and wears 3D printed masks of his victims to be. Unlike Ghostface’s frenzied attacks from the aforementioned franchise, this killer forward plans to a fault. Each victim is confronted with their nasty secret before being offed in a bloody and violent reprisal.
These sections show that the movie had promise, but was let down by a weak plot full of do-nothing characters and whole setups simply abandoned. You’d be hard pressed to find any clue or theme, suggested during the first act, retain any importance in the last.
Park’s central performance is perfectly fine. She’s a deer in headlights, running from her past. The surrounding cast is otherwise spotty, with some actors pulling above their weight but others unable to find anything in the material to buff into a shine. Yet There’s Someone Inside Your House lacks any visual flair that would have dazzled you past these shortcomings. It moves into the property laden with boxes that it doesn’t bother to open, leaving them like messy reminders of laziness all over your home. The person inside your house is you, and you have a TV remote in your hand. With no secrets worth uncovering in this movie, you can defeat the threat by quite simply skipping it entirely.
Words by Mike Record