The People Under The Stairs (1991)


A young boy from the ghetto is trapped inside the house of a pair of ruthless cannibalistic slumlords who keep a group of kidnapped children in their basement.

This is Wes Craven’s attempt to jump on the ‘hood bandwagon with this horror comedy that plays out like The Addams Family crossed with Home Alone. There’s some attempt at social commentary hidden in here somewhere, as a gang of subjugated whiter-than-white people are kept helpless and voiceless under the control of the capitalist elite who drain all the money from a black neighbourhood, but the Scooby Doo script just has a group of kids running around dark corridors in a spooky mansion looking for buried treasure. The likeable cast do their best with what they have to work with but there’s no plot, no context and little in the way of thrills.

Although juvenile in the extreme and mediocre in its execution, it’s still far better than most things Craven has done.



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