There’s Someone Inside Your House

by

Stephanie Perkins

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There’s Someone Inside Your House Study Guide

Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Stephanie Perkins's There’s Someone Inside Your House. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.

Brief Biography of Stephanie Perkins

An author of Young Adult literature, Stephanie Perkins was born in South Carolina. She grew up in Arizona and later attended college in California and Georgia. She currently resides in the mountains of North Carolina with her husband and a cat, Mr. Tumnus. In addition to being an author and editor, Perkins has also worked as a bookseller and librarian. Perkins’s first book, Anna and the French Kiss, was published in 2010. Perkins followed her debut novel with Lola and the Boy Next Door (2011), Isla and the Happily Ever After (2014), There’s Someone Inside Your House (2017), and The Woods Are Always Watching (2021). Speaking about what inspired her to write There’s Someone Inside Your House, Perkins recalls becoming a horror fan when she saw the film Scream in 1996.
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Historical Context of There’s Someone Inside Your House

There’s Someone Inside Your House is based on slasher films of the 20th century—Stephanie Perkins cites 1996’s Scream as a significant influence. The slasher film is a subgenre of horror films that follows a killer as they stalk and murder a group of characters, often youths. As examples, film critics cite the Italian giallo films of the 1960s and 1970s, including Mario Bava’s Blood and Black Lace (1964) and Dario Argento’s The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970). These films often featured highly stylized cinematography and themes of sexuality and paranoia. Many critics consider the 1970s and 1980s to be the golden age of the slasher film, beginning with the commercial success of Halloween (1978), which follows heroine Laurie Strode as she repeatedly dodges the attacks of a masked murderer who recently escaped from a psychiatric institution. Halloween exhibits many conventions considered hallmarks of the genre, such as the “final girl” trope, which refers to the (usually) female protagonist who is the sole survivor of the group of characters stalked by the killer. Conventionally, the film spares the final girl the same gruesome fate as the other characters due to her perceived moral superiority—the final girl, for instance, does not participate in promiscuous sex or recreational drugs. Horror films often reflect contemporary social fears. As such, some view the popular slasher films that arose during the genre’s golden era as a conservative backlash against the culture of sexual liberation that took hold in the 1960s and 1970s. The genre saw a revival in the mid-1990s with the release of Scream in 1996. Many slashers released during this era, including Scream, are self-referential, actively mocking earlier films’ formulaic, dated conventions. More recent slasher films further challenge earlier films’ arguably sexist, dated tropes. For instance, Makani Young, the teenage protagonist of There’s Someone Inside Your House (and its 2021 film adaptation), manages to survive the killer’s murderous rampage even though she drinks, has sex, and participates in other supposed vices. Ti West’s X (2022) features a final girl, Maxine Minx, who is a sexually liberated adult film actress as its final girl.

Other Books Related to There’s Someone Inside Your House

Stephanie Perkins has written several other novels for young adults, including Anna and the French Kiss (2010), Lola and the Boy Next Door (2011) and Isla and the Happily Ever After (2014). Like There’s Someone Inside Your House, Perkins’s most recent book, The Woods Are Always Watching (2021), is a thriller. It tells the story of two best friends who set out on a camping trip in a national forest the summer before college. Their plans take a turn for the worse when they go off-trail and find themselves desperately lost. There’s Someone Inside Your House is inspired by teen slasher films such as Scream (1996). A classic in the genre of young adult horror is Lois Duncan’s I Know What You Did Last Summer (1973). The book centers around a group of friends who accidentally hit and kill a young boy while driving home from a party. Duncan, hailed as the “queen of teen thrillers,” has written many other books for young adults, including Summer of Fear (1976) and Killing Mr. Griffin (1978). More recent works of young adult horror include The River Has Teeth by Erica Waters, which follows a girl named Natasha who turns to the supernatural for answers when her sister goes missing, and All These Bodies by Kendare Blake, a murder mystery thriller set in the midwestern United States in the 1950s.
Key Facts about There’s Someone Inside Your House
  • Full Title: There’s Someone Inside Your House
  • When Written: 2010s
  • Where Written: North Carolina
  • When Published: 2017
  • Literary Period: Contemporary
  • Genre: Young Adult Literature, Horror, Romance
  • Setting: Osborne, Nebraska
  • Climax: Makani subdues and kills David Ware outside the corn maze, ending his reign of terror on the town of Osborne.
  • Antagonist: David Ware (the Osborne Slayer)
  • Point of View: Third Person—most of the book is told from Makani’s perspective, but several chapters are told from the perspective of David Ware’s victims.

Extra Credit for There’s Someone Inside Your House

From Fright to Might. Stephanie Perkins has said that she became a fan of horror after seeing Scream in 1996. She had previously been “an extraordinarily frightened child” and found watching the film to be an “empower[ing]” experience. The protagonist of There’s Someone Inside Your House, Makani Young, undergoes a similar experience, reflecting on an embittered peer’s murderous rampage to learn the importance of looking inward to confront one’s demons rather than outward.

A Topical Take. Horror films often reflect the fears and anxieties of the world out of which they are born, and the 2021 film adaptation of There’s Someone Inside Your House is no different, touching on subjects that color the modern teenage experience, such as the prevalence of school shootings, call-out culture, and white privilege.