[Fantastic Fest Review] 'There's Someone Inside Your House' Offers a Bland Intro to Teen Slashers – Bloody Disgusting

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[Fantastic Fest Review] ‘Black Friday’ Gifts Audiences With Toothless Satire
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[Fantastic Fest Review] ‘There’s Someone Inside Your House’ Offers a Bland Intro to Teen Slashers
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Scream shook the slasher foundation so hard upon release that it ushered in a new wave of teen slashers eager to follow suit. The ’90s are back in full swing lately, including another wave of ’90s inspired slashers. Enter There’s Someone Inside Your House. It’s a teen slasher, adapted from Stephanie Perkins’ YA novel, that leans too heavily on Scream for its high school murder mystery.
For her senior year of high school, Makani Young (Sydney Park) moved to small-town Osborne, Nebraska. Her relocation from Hawaii meant fleeing a troubled past, but trouble seems to have found her anyway; someone is targeting and slaying the graduating glass. A masked killer doesn’t just want to murder; they want to expose their victims’ darkest secrets to the world. Makani and her friends must discover the killer’s identity before they lose their secrets and their lives.
THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE (L to R) BURKELY DUFFIELD as CALEB GREELEY, SYDNEY PARK as MAKANI YOUNG, ASJHA COOPER as ALEX CRISP, JESSE LATOURETTE as DARBY, DALE WHIBLEY as ZACH SANFORD in THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE. Cr. DAVID BUKACH/NETFLIX © 2021
Directed by Patrick Brice (Creep, Creep 2), There’s Someone Inside Your House gets off to a strong start with an opening kill that’ll leave you reaching for your Achilles heels in sympathy. Then it shifts to the requisite introductions of character and setting and the usual depiction of high school hell. This is where Brice’s latest, penned by Shazam writer Henry Gayden, is content to stay for much of the story. There’s the mean class president who picks on Makani’s friend and the film’s most likable of all, Darby (Jesse LaTourette). There are the jocks that haze one of their own for being gay, and Makani’s sardonic pal Alex (Asjha Cooper) crushes on fellow friend Rodrigo (Diego Josef), a pill popper that reciprocates her feelings. And then there’s the outcast, Ollie (Théodore Pellerin), who serves as both the town scapegoat and Makani’s love interest.
This slasher is more interested in the social dynamics and high school hierarchy than in the slashing. The kills start excellent, including a gnarly throat-slitting or two, but quickly cut away and finish off the victim to get back to the drama. That might’ve been okay if the mystery injected any suspense whatsoever. Makani’s secret gets drawn out as long as possible, but it’s never quite as egregious as the dream sequence teases build it up to be. It’s befitting of Makani’s guilt but clunkily handled nonetheless. Even worse is the miscast Ollie; Pellerin can’t manage to bring any personality or energy to his character and never rises to making him the red herring the film so desperately wants him to become. He’s constantly bullied and targeted for being a creep or sociopath. Still, his only crime seems to be contentedness in isolation and doting over Makani no matter how poorly she treats him.
THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE (L to R) THEODORE PELLERIN as OLLIE LARSSON in THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE. Cr. DAVID BUKACH/NETFLIX © 2021
The actual killer’s identity, who’s willing to spend hours to 3D print masks of his victims’ faces to adorn while committing murder, is far too easy to spot. A gimmick that sounds neat in theory but never gets explored in any meaningful way, outside of begging the questions of who can afford a 3D printer or how access to one didn’t make it painfully easy for police to narrow down their suspect list. Ultimately, the motives owe a debt to Billy Loomis, just in a more superficial way.
Everything exists on a surface level in this hollow slasher. Characters never feel fully realized, the two lead lovebirds lack chemistry, and a lack of tension can’t sustain such a low body count or horror. Baffling choices get made; introducing Nazi paraphernalia is always a glaring, lazy neon sign that points to bad people in movies. That crutch isn’t needed. It attempts to make big swings in the finale, but not even a fun set piece can make the obvious exciting. This might be a passable intro to a teen slasher, for the young target audience wholly unfamiliar with the genre, except Netflix just released a trio of ’90s inspired slashers this summer with far more personality and bite.
There’s Someone Inside Your House releases on Netflix on October 6, 2021.

[Fantastic Fest Review] ‘Black Friday’ Gifts Audiences With Toothless Satire
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If there was ever a day of the year that deserved the horror movie treatment, Black Friday is the one. We’ve all seen the news footage of angry, zombie-like shoppers storming retail stores, desperate to get their hands on the latest deals with absolutely no regard for the overworked staffers. While this has been less of a common occurrence in the age of online retailers, it doesn’t make the true accounts of some of these violent incidents any less horrifying. Casey Tebo‘s Black Friday turns the metaphorical zombies into literal ones, making for a horror comedy rife with potential that it doesn’t fully capitalize on.
Ken (Devon Sawa, Final Destination) is a down-on-his-luck father in the midst of a divorce, lamenting his job as a low-level toy store employee at We ♥ Toys. He is prepared for a typically exhausting Black Friday with his fellow overworked crew of staffers, including potential love interest Marnie (Ivana Baquero, Pan’s Labyrinth), overachieving Christopher (Ryan LeeSuper 8), handy Archie (Michael Jai White, Spawn, Black Dynamite) perfect employee of the month Anita and new guy Emmett (Louie Kurtzman). Lorded over by their opportunistic manager Jonathan (Bruce Campbell, The Evil Dead) and his acerbic assistant Brian (Stephen Peck), the workers initially struggle with unpaid breaks, a lack of holiday bonuses and the looming danger of trampling-by-shoppers. Unfortunately, they soon find themselves in a cosmic battle for the planet as pink, blob-like aliens begin infecting the shoppers and mutating them into vicious creatures.
Working off of a script written by Andy Greskoviak, Tebo wastes no time getting right to the carnage. Character introductions and dynamics are handled swiftly before the attacks begin. It’s in these early moments that the film is at its best, with characters feeling lived-in and the humor feeling fresh. It turns stale rather quickly, however, with the film repeating the same types of jokes over and over. There are a few quiet moments between sequences of mayhem, with one shared Thanksgiving meal between the survivors offering some nice insight into their relationships and life situations. It’s one of the few genuine moments of pathos in the film that threatens to expand these characters beyond one-dimensional stereotypes, but it’s a threat that goes unfulfilled. 
Similarly disappointing is the misuse of the toy store as a setting.  This is a fun, colorful locale with plenty of opportunities for creativity when it comes to horror movie set pieces, but Black Friday seems content to treat it as any other drab warehouse. Nowhere to be seen are cleverly shot cat-and-mouse sequences between the aisles and we rarely see the creative use of toys as weapons. It’s all played loud and dumb, which makes for a perfectly acceptable (if not particularly memorable) viewing experience. It’s just unfortunate that you’ll find more bizarre hijinks and better kills in the all-too-brief climax of 2019’s Child’s Play remake.
Bruce Campbell
Black Friday opts to go the surface-level route in its social critique, with a few lines about corporate greed and American consumerism thrown in for good measure. It’s just disappointing that the film refuses to dig any deeper than that, especially when George A. Romero did it so well over 40 years ago in Dawn of the Dead. The lack of wit becomes more and more apparent as the film trucks along. Not every joke is a dud (an elderly employee casually mentioning how they separated shoppers by race during the first Black Friday she ever worked earns a mean-spirited laugh), but they’re all crammed into the first act. This sadly means the rest of the film is filled with a bunch of groaners.
Special makeup effects are provided by the always-outstanding Robert Kurtzman, who gives the infected Black Friday shoppers an appropriately ferocious design, complete with long, sharp teeth a protruding white goo tongue that they use to infect others. It’s appropriately gnarly, but most of the budget seems to have been saved for the admittedly bananas kaiju-esque climax, leaving little room for the eye-popping gore effects we’ve come to know and love from the makeup maestro. Outside of a few arterial sprays, there’s little else here in the way of gore.
Both Sawa and Campbell look like they’re having a lot of fun, with Campbell getting to play the sleazy store manager who cares more about earning the corporate-demanded six figures than the safety of his employees in a monster apocalypse. Sawa has to play the straight man against a diverse cast of likable characters, but none of them do much to stand out with the exception of Peck’s Brian, who quickly becomes the character you love to hate and can’t wait to see die.
There’s a moment late in the film when Ken laments one of his dad jokes, but Black Friday turns out to be a dad joke of a movie: obvious, predictable and corny. It’s unclear how you squander a setting as rife with potential as a toy store, but Black Friday manages to do just that. This isn’t to say that it’s without merit, as anyone who wants to see Campbell and Sawa go toe-to-toe against Black Friday alien mutants will find something to enjoy here. It just won’t blow your socks off.

Copyright © 2021 Bloody Disgusting, LLC

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