The Patrick Brice directorial doesn't get into your head the way a good horror does. Also being produced by James Wan, who gave us films like Insidious, your expectations are already high but the film turns out to be a mishmash of usual thriller elements, predictable twists and turns and lacks good character arcs.
Still from the film There's Someone Inside Your House streaming on Netflix
The slasher film, directed by Patrick Brice, is adapted from the 2017 novel of the same name authored by Stephanie Perkins. The story follows Makani Young, played by Sydney Park, who moves to Osborne, Nebraska, without realising what's she getting into. The high school student must find the identity of the serial killer who is terrorising her, her friends and classmates with big secrets and killing them all. Apart from Park, the film features Théodore Pellerin, Asjha Cooper, Jesse LaTourette, and Diego Josef in pivotal roles.
There's no chance to live to repent. Set in the town of Nebraska, this slasher horror (more of a thriller than horror) film is not what is expected of James Wan and Patrick Brice movie. Your expectations are already high as it is an offering by the filmmakers known for producing great horror films but this film fails to live upto expectations. It has usual thriller elements, predictable twists and turns and lacks good character arcs.
It follows the story of Makani Young (Sydney Park) who moves to Nebraska with her 'big secret'. She gets caught in the middle of a serial killing spree. The initial few scenes of the film showing the first victim, with the absence of background music adding up to the tense environment, do get your hopes high, only to disappoint you later.
The only aspect common among all victims is a 'big secret' that they carry. But not all of them are so bad that you think they should get killed for. They are the usual issues a teenager faces - bullying and substance abuse. The film tries to adapt the story for a modern-day retelling by including some latest technology to the storyline with 3D printed masks and the tech to send messages, revealing the so-called secret of the victim to the entire town. The killer wearing the mask, resembling the face of his victim, is disturbingly unique and interesting. For a moment, you do get to the edge of your seat, as Makani (the female lead) gets attacked hoping for a twist with her death. But she, of course, escapes.
The characters lack any arc throughout the narrative. Since the film does not take enough time to introduce the characters, they don't seem relatable either.
The film also leaves several hints throughout the narrative at the possibility of Ollie being the mysterious serial killer as he is seen stalking Makani but if you have watched many thrillers, you know that it is too obvious to be true. Ollie's arrest is also something that you see coming and only makes it more believable that he is not the serial killer.
While the film tries to raise the issue of racism and gender norms, they fail to sink in. It, on the other hand, glorifies stalking. Makani clearly shows that she is not interested in Ollie but he continues to stalk and annoy her until she finally gives in.
The climax of the film is, of course, overdramatic and ends on a happy note. The scene where the lead pair confronts the killer with over-the-top dialogues makes you want to take that knife and stab yourself. Also, even though Ollie gets brutally stabbed and lays in the open field for quite a long time, he manages to save his heroine and survives, only to reunite and get married to his love interest Makani.
The killer claims to be killing people for being 'hypocrites' and 'wearing a mask', hiding their true personalities. The idea is great but it does not strike a chord. Everything in the film is superficial. The story doesn't engross or engage you. The performances, direction, cinematography and background score are also just passable.
The film does neither gets you engrossed nor makes you wonder who the masked killer might be. But you can still give it a watch for the performances. Everything in the film looks superficial and this makes it less gruesome, nauseating when you see people having their throats slashed or being stabbed, hanged mercilessly.