There’s Someone Inside Your House is a slasher with receipts

A serial killer who murders problematic teens? Give it to me immediately.

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Hello, I’m Jared Richards, editor of Netflix Pause — and while I might not remember my friends’ birthdays, I know what you tweeted last summer, because I’m extremely online.

On the internet, everyone will experience 15 minutes of cancellation: there’s even a site to check whether it’s happened to you. That’s to say There’s Someone Inside Your House, a new slasher where a masked figure takes down teens over their problematic pasts, isn’t really that far-fetched. Death is, famously, the ultimate cancellation.

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There’s Someone Inside Your House

There’s Someone Inside Your House, as a sentence, is the perfect line to repeat out loud as a sort of acting exercise: it works with every single emotion. But that’s not the only reason I keep repeating this title out loud at my desk: I love it because, at first glance, it’s so vague and only tangentially tied to the film. 

As it relates to the film on a literal level, the title doesn’t really work. Okay, yes, our killer does appear in their victims’ homes, but this film is more of a teen slasher than a Don’t Call The Babysitter-style home invasion horror — and that’s signposted right from the first scene, clearly inspired by Drew Barrymore’s iconic death in Scream

Football jock Jackson wakes from a nap in his home alone to find the front door open. Photos of him mid-haze brutally beating up Caleb, a gay teammate, form a trail up to where the killer’s waiting, wearing a 3D-printed mask of Jackson’s own face. And after his bloody demise, the killer sends the entire town footage of Jackson’s hate crime. 

Over the opening credits, the voices of his classmates argue whether Jackson deserved what he got — and whether this means that anyone with a secret could be ‘cancelled’ next. The killer has moved rent-free into their minds, and mine too: There’s Someone Inside Your House is conceptual! Postmodern! Self-effacing! A comment on fear itself! A vibe, if you will.

Adapted from a 2017 young adult novel of the same name by Stephanie Perkins, There’s Someone… sees a deadly twist on ‘cancel culture’ come to a small town in Nebraska. It’s hard to talk about ‘cancel culture’ without using air quotes or cringing: it’s too infuriating to discuss on every level and wilfully misrepresentative, used to describe too broad a scope of scenarios. (The reasons for the murders vary too, from white supremacy to far more innocuous non-offences.)

It’s also impossible to ignore, which is why There’s Someone… is so fun. We don’t need more op-eds and essays about cancellations: we need silly teen slashers that rip the concept apart completely and make a mockery of our fear.  

Hear me out, but while watching There’s Someone…, I couldn’t help but think of He’s All That. Like Brodie Lancaster wrote in her Scene & Heard newsletter on the remake, influencer Padgett (Addison Rae) is constantly afraid of slipping from grace by saying or doing the wrong thing. It all feels life or death: why not make that literal?

 Our protagonist is Makani (Sydney Park), a transfer student who left Hawaii after a tragic incident, who’s eager to move somewhere nobody knows what happened. Clearly, Makani picked the wrong town — though in 2021 it’s much harder to adopt a new identity, no matter where you move, because if the killer didn’t bring receipts, someone else would have, eventually. After all, there are only two certain things in life — death and cancellation — and There’s Someone Inside Your House combines them into one without labouring the point. It’s scary, funny, never trite or self-serious, has satisfying twists, and features Théodore Pellerin as a creepy hot guy: in the immortal words of scream queen Anna Faris: ‘what are you waiting for?’ 

There’s Someone Inside Your House is now streaming.

Watch these too:

  • Fear Street, a teen slasher film trilogy based on R.L. Stein’s book series of the same name. Gory, shocking, and queer as hell, Fear Street jumps between the ‘90s, ‘70s, and the 17th century to tell a story about a town’s curse — plus, it includes a death featuring a bread slicer that puts Final Destination to shame, and stars everyone’s new twink king, Fred Hechinger (The White Lotus, The Woman In The Window). 

  • Scream, a savvy TV adaptation of Wes Craven’s iconic slasher films, which updates the ‘90s satire to include cyber-bullying and true-crime podcasts, as teens try to solve who the new Ghostface killer is.

  • Spree, where Stranger Things’ Joe Kerry is a ride-share driver desperate to go viral and so decides to live-stream killing his passengers. The darkest of dark comedies, also featuring SNL stars Sasheer Moore and Kyle Mooney, as well as cameos from Mischa Barton, Frankie Grande, and real-life influencers.

  • Fright Night, the 1985 cult classic where a horror-obsessed teen realises his neighbour is a bloodthirsty vampire. The blueprint for countless horror-comedies to come, with a perfect balance of goofs and scares.

  • The Babysitter, an intentionally kitsch horror where a pre-teen realises his babysitter (Samara Weaving) is part of a satanic death cult — and he could be their next victim. (The sequel really turns things up a notch, too).

The internet can’t stop talking about:

  • The absolutely wild on-set restrictions for The Guilty, a remake of a 2018 Danish film about a cop (Jake Gyllenhaal) working at a 911 call centre. After learning he was a close contact of a COVID carrier, director Antoine Fuqua directed the film remotely from a trailer near set, in a set up featuring a heap of screens and walkie talkies. The Hollywood Reporter talked to Fuqua about the experience, and how the process mirrored that of Gyllenhaal’s character throughout the film. 

  • Jerry Seinfeld apologising for making Bee Movie so sexual. We forgive, but we will never forget. 

  • Maid, a new series starring real-life mother-daughter duo Andie MacDowell and Margaret Qualley inspired by Stephanie Land’s 2019 memoir about raising a young daughter as a poor single mother. Critics are praising it for being an “unflinching” and “sobering” portrayal of motherhood and domestic violence, while Ava Duvernay and Hideo Kojima have joined those sharing praise on Twitter, too.

  • Dalgona candy, specifically thanks to Squid Game. The New York Times even has a feature on the candy, and a recipe for how to make a (less deadly) version of the honeycomb game, too.

I leave you with a gift of pure joy:

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Jared Richards is a critic living on Gadigal Land who has written for The Guardian, The Monthly, Junkee and more. He tweets at @jrdjms
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