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Film Review: “There’s Someone Inside Your House” Misleads and Misdirects, to No Avail

Written by: Christopher Llewellyn Reed | October 5th, 2021

Film poster: “There’s Someone Inside Your House”

There’s Someone Inside Your House (Patrick Brice, 2021) 1½ out of 4 stars.

A new serial killer is on the loose, choosing as victims people with shameful secrets, be they of violence, cruelty, or something else. One by one they are picked off, usually stabbed with a knife in especially gory ways. As blood splatters the frame, so does the mystery loom, until finally, as these things go, we discover the murderer’s identity, which is—o surprise!—not what we thought it was. Slasher pics are a cinematic dime a dozen, the formula well established, and everyone knows what to expect. Still, among the rules of the genre’s successful examples are that they entertain and offer an antagonist with understandable (if not forgivable) motivation. In There’s Someone Inside Your House, while the former is occasionally true, the latter is not, the rationale for what happens, and when it happens, all ajumble. I have heretofore been a genuine fan of director Patrick Brice’s previous work, yet cannot recommend this new one.

Sydney Park (Dead Reckoning) stars as Makani, a recent transplant from Hawaii to the Midwest who is desperate to forget the incident that caused her to move. While hardly among the popular in her new high school, she has nevertheless found a solid group of laid-back friends, neither among the cool kids nor outcasts. When a football jock is brutally murdered (in an opening sequence), all wonder who did it and if anyone is next, given that the killer simultaneously released a video of his first victim bullying a gay teammate. Could that athlete, himself a popular star, have sought revenge? Considering he was in the act of scoring a touchdown when everything went down, probably not. It’s a puzzle, indeed.

l-r: Sydney Park in THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE. Cr. David Bukach ©Netflix

After which there are more deaths, and soon one that hits a little too close to home for Makani. Could her misfit would-be boyfriend, Ollie (Théodore Pellerin, Never Steady Never Still) be the guilty party? Well, it’s a sure sign that if all clues point in a specific direction, the obvious choice is a false one. Still, when Makani later tells Ollie, “I have been beyond terrible to you,” we can only agree. Why he sticks around is anyone’s guess. Unless he really is the bad guy, after all.

Whatever the final truth, the last act proves extremely disappointing. While the earlier relationships between the young characters have their moments of interest, they are not enough to carry us beyond the thinly sketched reasons for the killing spree and wild inconsistencies therein. The rest of the cast is appealing—among them Asjha Cooper (Black As Night), Diego Josef (Tiger Within), Jesse LaTourette (The Devil Below) and Dale Whibley (Dance Together)—but not enough to solve the true riddle within, which is why this film made it to production without more revisions. Not even the title fully suits the narrative. Flashes of wit and whimsy aside, There’s Someone Inside Your House never gets inside your head the way a good horror film should.

l-r: Burkley Duffield, Sydney Park, Asjha Cooper, Jesse LaTourette, and Dale Whibley in THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE. Cr. David Bukach ©Netflix
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Christopher Llewellyn Reed is a film critic, filmmaker, and educator. A member of the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA) and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic, he is Managing Editor at Film Festival Today; lead film critic at Hammer to Nail; formerly the host of the award-winning Reel Talk with Christopher Llewellyn Reed, from Dragon Digital Media; and the author of Film Editing: Theory and Practice. In addition, he is a former cohost of The Fog of Truth, a podcast devoted to documentary cinema.

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