Secrets, secrets are no fun. Secrets, secrets hurt someone. Keeping secrets can be deadly in the entertaining if underrealized There’s Someone Inside Your House. Patrick Brice’s film harkens back to another age of horror films. The 90’s slashers with their pretty teens and ridiculous killer twists were fun and, in some cases, groundbreaking. As much as Netflix’s latest seems like it is cut from the same cloth as Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer, it is actually a clever mash-up of Heathers and Pretty Little Liars. That may anger some searching for hardcore scares, but this might be even better for those looking for something just as entertaining but different.
Both Heathers in the ’80s and, more recently, Pretty Little Liars have horror elements, but neither is traditional horror. Bodies pile up, and there is certainly a fair share of horrific behavior, but the action is almost entirely caused by hypocrisy and lies. There’s Someone Inside Your House takes the same approach. The creepy 3D printed masks of your own face killing you is a cool angle and definitely disconcerting. Still, by and large, the horror here comes from the abhorrent behavior of humans who do terrible things to each other because they don’t think they will get caught.
Makani Young, The Walking Dead and ironically Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists Sydney Park, lives with her grandmother in a small town that has many secrets. Unfortunately, Makani is hiding a whopper of her own. She cares for her grandmother, who sleepwalks every night and hangs with a group of loveable misfits. When a high school football star is killed, it exposes a secret hazing ritual gone way too far; the entire town begins looking over their shoulders and covering up their secrets.
The thing that made Pretty Little Liars work was the complex machinations of the person pulling the strings. Machiavellian manipulations and twists and turns kept the story fresh through many seasons. There’s Someone Inside Your House loses its way slightly in the end when the killer is revealed to be Zach, who has elected to kill a ton of people while wearing a mask of their face because he is tired of white privilege or something. It’s all a little hazy.
Everyone where’s a mask. For some, it’s just hiding a desire to avoid conflict, while others hide their true vile self capable of violence and hate. Zach was irritated by those masks and wanted to make a statement, so he started killing people and making plans to purge the entire graduating class of their sins. Baptism by fire, if you will. Zach’s entire end scene speech rings like one of the best Mona moments from PLL. It is full of ranting and spitting, and illogical nonsense that only a story this deeply rooted in murky motives and campy selfie masks can pull off. Christian Slater’s bad-boy persona in Heathers was predicated by this kind of balls-out egotism.
There have been complaints that the film isn’t scary enough, and for those looking for a movie full of jump scares or ominous slow-burning atmospheres, those are fair criticisms. While the killer’s reveal is a tad undercooked, the rest of the film is entertaining teen fluff that’s perfect for an easy watch. Obnoxious teens do bad things and, for the most part, get their comeuppance. The pretend sympathetic teen who publicly fights for the rights of the marginalized privately has a conservative podcast that spews hate speech. Zach’s father is a low-key Nazi with a war room of memorabilia for light genocidal dreaming. The football star is a predictably homophobic bully.
Those kills are satisfying, which keeps the film from ever diving too deep into the scary pond. Those kills also allow the movie to feel unabashedly indulgent. There’s something freeing about wishful revenge fulfillment. If you focus on that and forget the whole take out the entire student body part, There’s Someone Inside Your House could easily be a second cousin of PLL and Heathers. It’s fun and a tad gross, and if someone has to drink some Drano, so be it.
There’s Someone Inside Your House is streaming on Netflix right now as part of their Netflix and Chills Halloween lineup. So give it a try and lean into the camp while you look forward to the Amazon reboot of I Know What You Did Last Summer out October 15th, 2021.
As the Managing Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre entertainment. I grew up with old-school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. My work can be found here and Travel Weird, where I am the Editor in Chief.