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[Fantastic Fest ’21] ‘There’s Someone Inside Your House’ review: Gory kills can’t save mediocre Netflix slasher

Corn in the U.S.A.

There’s Someone Inside Your House  gets off to a promising start. It is a twist on the standard horror movie cold open. The end result sees the star quarterback from the local high school murdered and his dark secret revealed. It soon turns out it is not just a one time thing. A serial killer is offing students and letting the whole town know what their victims had kept hidden. Makani Young (Sydney Park) must work to figure out what is happening before her own secret is discovered.

There is an almost fun tone in the first act. The students express their grief in different ways. They are some of the funniest moments of There’s Someone Inside Your House. It is not about making a mockery of death, but showing how oblivious and self-absorbed some of the teens are. There silly over the top characters that are a part of these types of films are also introduced.

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This is part of the reason the gang trying to solve the crimes turning out to be such a bland group is so surprising. There’s Someone Inside Your House  tries to give them all personalities with varying degrees of success. They end up being one dimensional more often than not, however. There is a great moment of self-awareness in the film when one of the friends angrily chides another for hating everything. The exchange seems to be poking fun at that one character from these stories who is always too cool for school.

Unfortunately, it seems to be unintentional as later during a pivotal rescue scene, the spiteful character almost reluctantly agrees to helping save a group of people they have been making fun of the entire time. Instead of developing the character, their whole identity is wrapped around “I hate football players”.  It ends up highlighting just how little depth There’s Someone Inside Your House has.

The story tries to take on so much that it never is able to make a firm statement. It tries to critique high school hierarchy, the death of the middle class, privilege, and for short amounts of time, racism and homophobia. In some cases, it even manages to get its point across. More often than not, it is clumsily done. For example, the revelation of Makani’s past ends up being anticlimactic. The identity of the killer is also easy to discern early on.

There’s Someone Inside Your House has a lot to live up to. Its jokey tone and high school setting will lead to inevitable comparisons to Scream. This is unfair since the movie seems to what to do its own thing. To its credit, it does have some gruesome kills and some genuinely funny moments. Regrettably, these end up being the exception to the rule as the film runs out of steam.

Fantastic Fest takes place from September 23 – September 30. Check out AIPT’s ongoing coverage.

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