There’s Someone Inside Your Critical House – Empty Netflix Cancels Slasher Culture | Horror films
There is the obvious business sense behind the cyclical resurgence of the teen slasher, an age-old formula cheap replicated by barely-paid anonymous targeting a younger audience that is easily devalued and underrated. What’s less obvious is why in the age of low-stakes streaming, it took them so long to come back from the dead. But after the success of Happy Death Day in 2017 and record-breaking Halloween in 2018, we are now in the midst of a full-fledged rebirth.
Netflix’s Fear Street Trilogy (acquired from Fox / Disney) was a spooky summer surprise, this month sees remakes of I Know What You Did Last Summer and Slumber Party Massacre land, as well as David Gordon Green’s sequel, Halloween Kills. Next January, Ghostface returns to the multiplex in a new take on Scream. In the midst of that roar, think of There’s someone inside your house, a barely audible squeak, like one of the many ’80s sleepover cashouts that were handed out just in case Freddy or Jason would be hired from the local video store. What makes it hard to take advantage even at this underground level is that those behind the film seem to think they are do something, that their four-alcopops Netflix night-waster is the Slasher movie we need right now – a haughty bet that crumbles as the body count grows.
There’s a killer in town and he or she seems to be targeting teens with voidable secrets, of which there are plenty. There’s the footballer who brutally misted a gay teammate, the two-shoe Christian who took part in a racist podcast and our heroine Makani (Sydney Park), whose fiery past she hopes she’ll never reveal. This isn’t the only gadget in the villain’s arsenal, he or she uses 3D printing to wear a face mask of whoever he kills. owl !
There’s a slightly impressive amount of behind-the-scenes pedigree here, relatively speaking – a source novel by a popular YA author, producing credits for both Stranger Things and Arrival’s Shawn Levy and The Conjuring and Saw’s James Wan, the director of the nifty indie thriller Creep from 2014. – but behind the scenes, that’s exactly where it all stays. We’re back to Netflix’s lower shelf with this, aesthetically drab with dialogue and performance not far behind.
The script, from Shazam! screenwriter Henry Gayden, at least begins with some dose of courage, targeting the heinous upper echelons of high school society, killing a vile tyrant in an open cold arch (the victim, having been threatened with exposure, offers to pay the killer via Venmo). The various and artfully disheveled outcasts then bitch about the vapidity of performative grief and suggest that maybe killing assholes isn’t the worst thing? But Brice’s merciless, show-heavy chatter soon dampens any precocious spirit, and the alleged cancellation culture comments are drowned out by rote clichés, small-town business intrigues, and the thin, sharp characters we have. hard to worry about the fate. The death scenes are both gory and annoying and completely unsuspecting. The awkward tonal shift between comedy and horror marks the film as less screaming and more moaning (the mask designs are also so inexpensive that we can never really tell who they’re meant to represent).
Director Patrick Brice is so distracted trying to be as long as he forgets to make his film fun at the basic level or sometimes even at the basic level cohesive, his thesis crammed into a ridiculously killer speech on the nose where the words Fashioners are awkwardly crashed together, trying to make a point but ultimately not saying much about anything. There is nothing inside of it.