The People Under the Stairs is not a perfect movie by any means, but it’s one of the most unique, unpredictable, energetic horror experiences you’ll find in mainstream cinema. You have to admire its ambition, which is, by and large, successful. Really a modern fairy tale, TPUTS revolves around a young urban “peasant” (Brandon Quintin Adams) who befriends a “princess” (A.J. Langer) who’s being imprisoned by an evil “king” (Everett McGill) and “queen” (Wendy Robie) in a stately “castle” where the “dungeon” holds a nasty secret.
It’s not hard to read an anti-Republican Party sentiment running through the movie. The psycho couple of the house has an extreme obsession with family values — despite a love for guns –and refer to each other with a Reagan-esque “Mommy” and “Daddy” (not to mention the conspicuous clip of the Gulf War). They’re slum lords, the stereotypical greedy upper class exploiting the (minority) have-nots. Regardless of your political affiliation, though, it’s hard not to get a kick out of the over-the-top antics of this classic horror duo. The great thing about TPUTS is that it never takes itself seriously; it realizes what a wacky story it all is and isn’t afraid to throw a little slapstick into the mix.