Halloween is a great time of year for horror fans; this is the time of year we can watch horror movies every day with friends, instead of every day alone. This year, I had limited time so I spent it with the objectively best movie ever made (Jason X), Ari Aster’s Hereditary, and – just to add a bit of unpredictability – the latest horror offering from Netflix, “There’s someone inside your house”. Clearly inspired by late 90s to early 00s teen horror like “I know what you did last summer”, this movie follows a group of misfit teenagers at Osborne High as they try to survive and figure out who the masked assaulter is that is terrorizing the town by murdering teens and revealing their darkest secrets.
Directed by Patrick Brice, written by Henry Gayden, and based on a novel by Stephanie Perkins, There’s Someone Inside Your House has got to be the perfect Netflix movie to summarize most of the offerings from the streaming giant; great premise, boring and baffling execution. There are so many features that are just pointless additions to add buzzwords for the marketing team, like 80s nostalgia but having no real impact on anything; at some point, two characters listen to music on a cassette, and the music is inspired by Stranger Things, but that’s literally it. The movie is not set in the 80s, the costumes look like the most generic outfits a “misfit” group of outcasts would wear, and it’s a fairly modern setting with some 80s over-the-top flourishes, but nothing to write home about. It’s an addition that adds nothing and mostly works against immersion if you were trying to take this movie seriously; like out of nowhere these teens that have been texting each other and listening to music on their smartphones and driving brand new cars, decide to listen to a cassette as a shortcut for a quirky connection between two characters. Even interesting gimmicks, like the killer wearing a mask of the victim’s face as they toy with them before killing them, are sorely underused; there is a funny line in the opening, but that gimmick has no other interesting uses. The biggest disappointment though has to be the tone; from knowingly cliché characters like dumb jocks and evil presidents to serious topics like bullying and taking responsibilities, the movie just doesn’t seem able to make up its mind if it wants to be knowingly schlocky and goofy or a serious psychological examination of characters affected by a serious and real problem.
Beyond that, there are just some bad or unfinished editing choices that make this movie feel like there wasn’t too much effort put into it. Decisions like having a quirky, comic relief character that drives an Uber have more screen time than a guy who seems to be one of the group; also the Uber driver becomes a weirdly comical red herring for a brief moment before completely disappearing from the movie, which was extremely funny to me. There are many elements and items that are directly referred to as important or difficult for most characters to possess, yet the final “reveal” answers none of those questions in a satisfying way. The acting and the directing are average at best, but mostly inoffensively mediocre, while the scares have some decent outbursts of gore at times yet are mostly predictable and dull to experience.
What I find the worst aspect of this whole project though, has to be the lack of effort put into it; I’m not saying the people making this are lazy, I’m just saying they lacked the ambition or the drive to make sure they were making the best movie they could have. From the inconsistent tone to terrible characters that make slasher victims feel deep and two-dimensional, there never was a scene, a detail, or any show of passion towards making something that needed to exist or even something that people will have fun watching; it just felt like a bunch of ideas, all thoroughly underdeveloped, thrown into a blender, then this movie came out. The perfect example of this is the killer themselves; they are a mix of anything that seemed like a good idea thrown together, ending up like dinner with all your favorite meals on one plate – sounds good in theory, but in practice, it’s just an amorphous blob that will make you sick. From stealthy and well-thought kills in one scene to chaos-inducing, boldly public execution the next, there is nothing consistent or scary about them. For example, the masks do get addressed at the end, but it’s such a throwaway line that it feels like someone wrote that in 10 minutes before the shooting started; they also don’t look that scary or ominous. They alternate from being supernaturally gifted like Jason (teleporting around a church in one scene) to trying to adhere to human capabilities for the rest of the movie.
What I feel is the perfect summary of this movie is this sequence of scenes that showcase the half-assed nature of every aspect of this movie. In the first scene, a character calls someone while getting yelled at and yelling back at them; they clearly have a troubled life, but his actual problem is that he cannot confess his love to the girl he likes because he is scared. Then, we get a scene where another character gets really high (that’s his only trait alongside that he has a father who is a scumbag) and comes up with a plan. Then, the former character confesses his love to the girl and she accepts it and then dies stupidly so that the gang can morn him for a few minutes before moving on and not giving a shit ever again. In that sequence alone, the movie went from teen drama melodramatics to teen comedy hijinks and ended up with teen romance and moody horror.
Obviously, I really disliked this movie (so much so, I cannot round up the energy needed to write the title again), so I’m going to end how I started this article. If you want to see the (objectively) best movie ever made just watch Jason X or if you want some proper scares with a deep storyline and themes that will make you want to rewatch it just to engage with them on a deeper level, just watch Hereditary; if you are looking for b-movies, watch Psycho Goreman or any other schlocky nonsense that seems good. Don’t make your friends watch this movie with you, otherwise, there will be someone inside your house; you, all alone watching bad movies.