‘There’s Someone Inside Your House’ has as much style as substance

There’s Someone Inside Your House, Netflix’s movie based on the Stephanie Perkins novel, has everything you’d want in a slasher.

A little over four years ago, I wrote a There’s Someone Inside Your House book review. After having enjoyed Stephanie Perkins’ other books, like Anna and the French Kiss, I was excited to learn she had a horror novel coming out.

As a horror novice, There’s Someone Inside Your House was the perfect gateway into a new world. It took place in a small town (a familiar setting for romance novels) and had cute boys, high school drama, and stories about identity.

It really is a YA novel through and through, just with the added element of murder.

I scare easily, but I’ve found slashers to be a good entry point into this genre. Sure, they’re more realistic than, say, supernatural horror, but there’s an innate element you can’t control when ghosts or zombies are involved. That’s the part that scares me the most. At least my brain can make sense of a real person wielding a knife.

All this is to say that There’s Someone Inside Your House is a good young adult thriller to start with if you want to dip your toes into the genre. It’ll spook you enough to give you that rush you’re looking for, but it won’t keep you up for days on end, afraid to let your feet hang off the bed.

As a result, the film adaptation provides a similar reaction. The high school drama softens the edges of this horror flick, but you can still expect a ton of suspense with the occasional chill running down your spine.

It’s been a few years since I’ve read the book, but from my recollection, the movie centers on roughly the same cast of characters and hits the main beats from the novel. At the same time, it has a few new offerings to keep book readers on their toes.

While watching the film, I kept thinking back to the MTV Scream television series, which I loved, and how much Inside Your House felt as though it belonged in the same camp. I was happy to read that in my book review from four years ago, I also referenced Scream, which proves that 1) I’m consistent, and 2) the movie stayed true to the tone of the book.

Speaking of tone, I think that was my favorite element of the movie. There’s Someone Inside Your House feels as though it was made for Gen Z. While I had no problem relating to any of the characters or their struggles as an Elder Millennial myself, I noticed they were far less afraid of broaching certain topics than the slashers of my childhood.

First and foremost, the cast’s diversity was highlighted and acknowledged without being the total focus of their character. Makani Young (Sydney Park) is half Korean and half Black, Alex Crisp (Asjha Cooper) is Black, Darby (Jesse LaTourette) is trans, Rodrigo Doran (Diego Josef) is Latino, Caleb Greeley (Burkely Duffield) is gay, and so on.

there's someone inside your house cast

Although there are commentaries throughout the movie about Makani’s heritage or Darby’s identity, these aspects of their character never take center stage. Caleb’s queerness is a big part of his story, but he’s also a jock and a kind person and a new friend. It feels natural that a bunch of white, middle American high schoolers would point out the differences in these characters, but the movie never makes those moments feel justified or even funny.

In fact, There’s Someone Inside Your House goes out of its way to poke fun at how extra some of the white characters can be and how hypocritical they are in their private lives versus when they’re wearing their public personas. The film touches on topical issues such as racism, privilege, and classism, among others without making it feel like a Very Special Episode.

Both the victims and the killer are smart, and many of the characters have valid speculations about who the murderer could be. In this sense, it feels almost self-referential, though not nearly as much as Scream and all of its iterations.

The pacing of the movie also highlights the fact that the characters are intelligent. It starts off with a murder, and from there, the killer strikes at the most convenient times. Sure, he’s doing this for the thrill and as a scare tactic, but everything is calculated.

And between murders, more is revealed about the main cast of characters. We spend most of our time with Makani, which is fine by me because Sydney Park is a fantastic leading lady. She embodies the role of a girl who’s cautious about her past, saddened by her present, and scared of what the future may hold.

But she’s not the only one hiding something. Some of the secrets are unforgivable while others will undoubtedly garner sympathy. But the killer does not distinguish between the two, and most of the deaths are gruesome, if not downright shocking. This is made worse by one of the cardinal rules of the horror genre—(almost) no one is safe.

That being said, I found the suspense to be even worse than the gore. The movie is called There’s Someone Inside Your House, and haven’t we all—at one point or another—worried about an intruder sneaking their way into our home? The idea that you fell asleep only to wake up and find someone’s broken in and rearranged your living room preys on an instinctual fear most of us have. We don’t like fighting what we can’t see, and we don’t like doubting our own sanity in the process.

And it’s not just the characters who struggle with this concept. Red herrings abound, and the movie does a good job of convincing us that several people could be the culprit. After all, almost everyone has motivation, and a case could be argued for or against each one.

Either way, the climax felt big enough, and the final reveal held enough weight to make the payoff satisfying. There’s Someone Inside Your House has as much style as substance, and whether you’re a horror aficionado or someone who merely wants a couple good thrills just in time for spooky season, I think this film will be worth your time.

Will you watch ‘There’s Someone Inside Your House’?

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