Stephanie Perkins’ popular novel gets the movie treatment from Netflix
Is There’s Someone Inside Your House spooktacular? Let’s discuss.
Following the success of summer slasher sensation Fear Street, Netflix is back at it with another popular YA horror adaptation with Patrick Brice’s prickly There’s Someone Inside Your House. At its best, the adaptation of Stephanie Perkins’ novel is a fun 90s style throwback slasher, meaning it follows the Scream playbook and dispatches its fresh-faced cast with plenty of blood and witty dialogue. This is the kind of film that knows exactly what it is and wants to be, which means viewers will know right away if they’re into it.
It’s the start of a new school year, Makani Park (Sydney Young) is settling into her new life in good ol’ Osborne, Nebraska, and life appears to be good. Or, at the very least, quiet. Which is great for Makani because she’s come a long way for the peace and anonymity of small town middle America. And a second chance, dun dun duuuuuuun. Makani has a secret she’d like to keep, which is a bad problem to have when a killer turns up intent on exposing people’s transgressions and promptly murdering them.
To the film’s credit, it has slightly more on its mind than the typical pop-horror fare. Well, it has a point that it’s after but doesn’t quite make, which is a cautionary tale about cancel culture run amok. Henry Gayden’s script searches for a fresh perspective on the matter, but the film doesn’t dig in deep enough to find any meaningful insights. The politics of the film are unconvincing. It’s like when someone starts to say something but realizes halfway in that they don’t have anything substantive to add, but at that point they’re committed so they have to say something. There is a spark of creativity to the killer’s costume, though, which is a carefully crafted mask to look like the intended victim. It’s a clever touch and an image that speaks to the film’s themes better than any amount of dialogue. But, at least it doesn’t devolve into a lame-brained screed about wokeness, so, you know, small victories.
What the film can hang its hat on is its set pieces, which director Brice stages effectively. These scenes aren’t revelatory, but they’re adequately tense and bloody. Fans of the book may lament the decision to cut a couple of choice kills from Perkins’ work in order to streamline the narrative. It’s a disappointment because the book is at its best when it’s functioning as a killing machine.
While Makani does her best to stay alive, she’s also juggling her secret relationship with the brooding Ollie (Theodore Pellerin). He’s also an outsider and the two bond over that. But the film gives their relationship a cursory treatment, setting them up as two loners who find comfort in each other, and providing a half-hearted red herring. Aside from Makani and Ollie, there isn’t really anyone worth remembering.
There’s Someone Inside Your House is entertaining enough to get by. It’s spooky season, so people will be inclined to check the movie out when they come across it on Netflix. It’s a diversion, a fast fix for horror fans. It’s trick-or-treat season and this movie delivers a sugar high that hits quick and dissipates even quicker. I was amused, so I will give There’s Someone Inside Your House a mild recommendation and a milder spooktacular.
There’s Someone Inside Your House is available on Netflix