The People Under The Stairs
The People Under The Stairs (1991)

Wes Craven wrote and directed this surrealistic horror-comedy, which was inspired by a true story of parents keeping their children locked in a basement for years. Fool (Brandon Adams), an African-American teen, breaks into the home of the… More

Directed By:
Rated: R
Running Time:
Release Date: November 1, 1991
DVD Release Date: October 7, 2003
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Critic Score: 61% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Variety Staff

A pretense of social responsibility and most of the necessary tension get lost in a combination of excessive gore and over-the-top perfs in The People Under the Stairs.

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Richard Harrington
Washington Post

Craven has been directing downhill since his terror triptych of "Last House on the Left," "The Hills Have Eyes" and the original "Nightmare on Elm Street," so it's hardly surprising that he hits bottom with "The People Under the Stairs."

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Matt Brunson
Creative Loafing

Or The Script Under the Coffee Cup... As with most Craven images, this one suffers from lackluster performances, a clumsy screenplay, a campy tone, and a noticeable lack of suspense.

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Nigel Floyd
Time Out

There are a few push-button frights, but a total dearth of mind-disturbing terror; the humour, too, is broad, crowd-pleasing stuff.

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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly

If there were truth in advertising, The People Under the Stairs would be called The Not Very Scary Movie Set Inside a Grungy, Badly Lit House.

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Felix Vasquez Jr.
Cinema Crazed

A wacky, darkly comic, and obscenely weird horror movie...

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Vincent Canby
New York Times

Though the new movie has its share of blood and gore, it is mostly creepy and, considering the bizarre circumstances, surprisingly funny.

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John Beifuss
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

A parable of underclass exploitation that ends in revolution and extreme -- even explosive -- wealth redistribution.

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Dustin Putman

As a horror film and an allegory that is just as timely in the 21st century as it was in the early 1990s, "The People Under the Stairs" actually has something to say beyond its goal to frighten.

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More reviews for The People Under The Stairs

Flixster Audience Score: 58% Flixster User Reviews
Cory Taylor
Like a neophyte, blunderbuss George Romero, Wes Craven often merged social commentary into his macabre tales. The difference is Romero never forgot to also be… More
Alex roy
The People Under The Stairs is a drastic change of direction for director Wes Craven. Craven known for some of the most famous films in the genre, crafts a film… More
Melvin White
Leroy: Nice to see the rich folks' got rats too. "In every neighborhood there's one house adults whisper about and children cross the street to… More
xGary Xx
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.… More
Chris Weber
The films of Wes Craven have proven to be all over the place in terms of quality over the years, but this one falls on the more positive side of things...and… More
Tim Salmons
This is just classic Wes Craven. The plot may not make a lot of sense, but the execution is phenomenal. His style is written all over it.

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