A New Direction for Horror?

SLIGHT SPOILER WARNING FOR “THERE’S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE” AND THE “FEAR STREET” TRILOGY

This concept is not subtle: their villains are rich white men who feel entitled to take what they want, just as in the real world. However, that doesn’t mean that these films should be totally brushed aside as “trying too hard.” Henry Gayden, the screenwriter for There’s Someone Inside Your House, and Leigh Janiak and Phil Graziadei, the screenwriters of Fear Street, are trying to say something that hasn’t been said enough throughout history: rich white men have power and those with power cannot always be trusted.

Netflix’s marketing poster for recent teen-horror movie There’s Someone Inside Your House

On September 23, Netflix released yet another teen-centered horror movie: There’s Someone Inside Your House. With the recent success of the horror trilogy Fear Street, this comes as a shock to no one. Certainly, the twist-ending shouldn’t either to anyone who has been paying any attention at all. Both There’s Someone Inside Your House and the Fear Street trilogy are attempting to do something new with the horror genre. Instead of having poor, often mentally-ill people as a villain, they create villains out of the privilege of modern times.

Netflix’s marketing poster for teen-horror trilogy Fear Street

Horror movies have always been a metaphor for whatever it is that popular culture finds frightening. In the past, this has allowed some very not-PC (politically correct) villains to fall through the cracks. Ranging from stereotypes to straight-up xenophobia, popular culture has given way to some truly awful horror villains. However, with the wide-spreading acknowledgment of systemic racism, sexism, homophobia, and more, popular fears have shifted. Now, people are more afraid of those who are enforcing these systems of oppression, so horror movies are shifting to show this.

There’s Someone Inside Your House and Fear Street are just the most recent in a series of movies that are doing just this. Most notably would probably be Jordan Peele’s Get Out, where the villain turns out to be our black protagonist’s seemingly kind white girlfriend and her family.

The shift in public perception of what is “scary” has changed a lot of what horror is doing. It is up to viewers to decide if this shift is good, but no one can deny that this change is significant and possibly world-changing for the genre itself.

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