There's Someone Inside Your House Stars Pitch A 'Buddy Slasher' Movie [Interview]

Based on Stephanie Perkins' part-romance part-murder mystery novel of the same name, Netflix's new horror film "There's Someone Inside Your House" takes inspiration from '90s and '00s slasher films and combines them with the sensibilities of today's more socially conscious youth. The slasher boom of the 1980s helped solidify horror's reputation as one of the most popular and profitable genres at the box office, but also unfortunately set a trend for some of the genre's more problematic mainstays. "There's Someone Inside Your House" bucks a lot of traditional slasher conventions — including who is allowed to tell their story.

Asjha Cooper is a star on the rise, having had small roles in "Friday Night Lights," "The New Normal," and a more prominent role on "All American," but she's quickly becoming a horror favorite. This year she starred in both the "Welcome to the Blumhouse" film "Black as Night" and now "There's Someone Inside Your House."

Jesse LaTourette has a few video shorts and one-off TV performances to their name, but really made waves back in 2018 in a supporting role in the gay conversion camp drama, "Boy Erased." Now, like Cooper, LaTourette is having a year of horror with "There's Someone Inside Your House" and the creature feature "The Devil Below."

Fresh off the premiere of "There's Someone Inside Your House" at Fantastic Fest, Cooper and LaTourette sat down with me to talk about modern slashers, acting in horror, and finding ways to honor our high school selves.

"We Need to See Full Representation"

Jesse, I am curious about something specific to your experience. Despite the fact that horror films are very much rooted in queer history, slasher films and their representation are not the best, especially for people who get to live. There are a lot of people who are going to feel very seen by your character. How are you preparing knowing that after this movie is released, you're going to be gif-able for a lot of people?

Jesse: I love that you said that because I worked really hard to try to make sure it was authentic, and it was as much a three-dimensional depiction of a person who is queer as it could be, because oftentimes we don't get that. We get something more stereotyped because it was written by someone who is probably cishet and it was just kind of trying to figure things out. And Henry [Gayden] and Netflix did such an amazing job asking me questions, working with GLAAD, and my character Darby kind of is me. They asked a lot of my opinions, so I kind of got to go back to my high school self and have a do-over and experience what life could have been like if I had been a bit braver when I was younger. But if people make gifs of Darby, all I ask is that you send them my way because I want them.

I could ask the same question to you, Asjha. I feel like that's also going to happen to you. Your character is one that is so strong-willed and determined and yet is not poised as kind of the singular one final girl that most slashers get. How are you bracing for this fandom you're about to develop because of your character?

Asjha: I welcome it! I don't want to give away anything, I guess I just agree with Jesse in a way that I feel like it's very easy for a Black woman to be portrayed as just very stereotypical, especially in horror films where they're sassy and that's it. There's no other layers to them. They literally are just there for the lead character, but I feel like our cast, it's very much an ensemble cast. We very much are all layered and we all have our different storylines and we're all authentic and relatable and just real people. And I think that's important representation for a character like Darby and for a character like Alex. Of course, we're starting to see more Black people in the media, but it's still stereotypical. And so we need to see full representation, a full person.

"This Was Really Affirming For Me"

That's exactly what I was hoping how you would both feel about your characters because I loved the movie and your performances were part of that, so congratulations on being wonderful. Jesse, a question that I also have for you is what is it like when you are performing in a movie like this? I know you've had similar roles where your character has had to deal with adversity that you may also deal with in real life. How do you prepare for that?

Jesse: I grew up in a really small conservative town. I also kind of grew up at a time where we didn't have social media and the resources it provides like we have today. And I'm fluid, but when I was going to school, that wasn't even a word so I didn't know what I was feeling. And it's honestly been recently with the rise of activism on TikTok and a wonderful, safe, creative as heck queer spaces that are coming out that have just slowly been teaching me more and more about myself. And starting to learn about myself.

And then getting a role like this was really affirming for me and taught me so much about how I can have my authenticity and not apologize for it. And also, I can look and present how I want to present because I am my label instead of ... because I think before now, it's been people saying, "This is what queer looks like, because it's what is in Hollywood." And I think it's so great that now we're kind of taking it back and we're like, "Actually, we're so many things." So I'm just really excited about where it's going and I'm hoping that people liked my character. It's me. I'm obsessed with space. I wanted to be an astrobiologist in school before I realized I can't do math and I'm a thespian, so if you're watching it, that is me as a high schooler if I was just a little more brave.

Asjha, a similar question. Concerning the character you play, is this how you were in high school or is this you getting to play outside of your wheelhouse? How do you relate to Alex?

Asjha: It's funny. I feel like all of our characters are very similar to us. We talk about that a lot. In high school, I feel like I relate to Alex in the sense that I've always been very open, inclusive, very accepting. And that's a testament to just my family. That's just how I grew up in all walks of life or in my family, and so that's very similar. I was outgoing, but I wasn't confident in my voice. I will say I wasn't really outspoken. I would be around and I would just kind of have fun, but Alex, she knows her truth. She knows right from wrong. She'll stand up for people no matter who is around, no matter what could be the consequence. And in that sense, I feel like I agree with Jesse. Alex is probably me if I were a lot braver in high school. But yeah, I have parts of her in me now.

"A Killer is Coming"

Oh, that's beautiful, and I really love hearing that. This is also a horror movie and you've got to scream and you've got to be scared. So I guess my question is for the two of you, is acting in a slasher movie exciting? Is it exhausting? Is it all of the above?

Jesse: Acting in horror movies is so, so fun. You're running around, you're screaming. You're either the killer or hopefully you're not being killed, but a death scene can be really fun too. I feel like horror films and genre films are just a big actor's playground. We tend to really enjoy that environment, or at least that was me. I don't know about Asjha.

Asjha: Well, no. It's true because the stakes are so high, realistically. You're not having to make them up in your head. It's like ... a killer is coming.

Jesse: And the script is so good, that it's like, there's a real killer here.

Asjha: Yes. Yes. It's actually really, really, really fun to make. But you also hit the nail on the head when you said exhausting. It's also very exhausting because you're running around, you're screaming, and then most of the time it's night shoots. That's when all the scary stuff happens in our town, but it was really fun overall.

"I Want to Play a Killer"

So one last question, I guess if I fantasy book you both in future slasher films, that's a possibility? You would take on other slasher roles?

Asjha: A thousand percent. I want to play a killer.

Jesse: I want to play kill- what if we're both?

Yeah. Let's dive into that! I know I said that was the last question. I lied. What kind of killer would you want to be? Would you want to be a masked slasher or would you want to be like, "No, you see my face?"

Asjha: Ooh, I don't know. I would want to be maybe psychological, like a psychological thriller killer where it's like, "I'm in your head." You don't know it's me, but then when you look back, you're like, "Oh my God, it's been this bitch the whole time. She has been leaving little nuggets." Yeah, I would want to do something like that where I'm hiding in plain sight. I wouldn't want to be a serial killer. I would want it to be mental.

Jesse: I'm not going to lie, I loved the show "Hannibal," and if I could play a character like Hannibal, where you know that he kills people, but also you're getting to know him and there's just all these crazy themes and stuff going on and it's really psychological, that could be great.

"We Need Some Modern Day Slashers"

I love this. Someone needs to make this happen. That's what I'm hearing more than anything.

Asjha: Well, because as I'm thinking now, I'm thinking about slashers ... has it ever been women?

There have been a few, but there's definitely not a lot of them.

Asjha: I'm thinking of Jennifer's Body, but that was more of a monster eating somebody.

Jesse: This needs to happen.

Asjha: It needs to happen. We're writing it now.

We have films like "Sleepaway Camp," which has questionable representation and "Urban Legend” which also has questionable representation...

Jesse: No, I'd change that.

Asjha: We need to change that. We need some modern day slashers. Me and Jesse will be the leads.

Beautiful. Like a buddy cop movie, but a buddy slasher movie?

Asjha: Yes, then when you get to the end, it's like justice. Somehow they're really fixing the world and then you're kind of on their side and you're kind of like, "Wait, are they in the right and we shouldn't consider it evil?"

I love it. We just came up with a pitch. That's what I'm hearing right now. This is brilliant.

Asjha: It's gonna happen.

"There's Someone Inside Your House" is available now on Netflix.