When it comes to horror movie houses, there are very specific images that comes to mind: shuttered windows; old, creaky doors; a dramatic staircase — these details evoke many an iconic film, from The Exorcist to The Strangers. But Lifetime's latest original thriller, Tiny House of Terror, is literally reimagining the setting for a horror movie, and it's a lot more cramped than the typical home invasion. Is Tiny House of Terror based on a true story? While Lifetime does adapt plenty of actual crimes, this isn't one of them. And the lead, Samantha — wife to a missing Silicon Valley millionaire — is an original character.
Living in a tiny house is certainly one of my personal nightmares, so watching a marathon of Tiny House Hunters can be frightening (so many bathroom/kitchen combos!). But Sam isn't inconvenienced at her lack of storage space; she moves to her tiny house in order to get away from her life and grieve her husband's disappearance. Of course, as any other horror protagonist will tell you, the peace and quiet she wanted won't last for long.
According to an interview on the blog Entertaining Options with costar Tammy Gillis (who plays Sam's friend Lindsay in the film), the film was shot in an actual tiny house. "They built this tiny house out in the middle of nowhere," Gillis said. And according to the actor, shooting the movie sold her on the tiny house experience (minus the killer, I assume). "If I had shot this movie before buying a townhouse, a tiny house definitely would have been something I would have looked into," she said.
Weirdly enough, tiny houses, townhouses, and all sorts of small living arrangements may be on the rise in horror movies because they're on the rise among some homeowners, who have eschewed large suburban homes and subdivisions in favor of more affordable, smaller accommodations (and, in some cases, instantly regretted tiny house living). Overall, home ownership is down among millennials, and according to CNBC, in 2016, "the nation's homeownership rate fell to match its all-time low and could drop even further."
Of course, that's due to a confluence of economic issues like high student loan debt and the recession. "Home prices have been rising at a far-faster clip than wage growth or employment growth. In addition, the supply of entry-level homes for sale continues to drop," CNBC explains. But, expressing skepticism about the future of tiny houses, Forbes predicted, "The trend probably won’t last long."
It may seem quirky now, but maybe Tiny House of Terror could be just the first of many thrillers set in a tiny home. If the typical American family is trading in their cul-de-sac for a miniature living space, maybe the next Halloween or Nighmare on Elm Street will take place in a much smaller setting. But for now, there's Lifetime's latest original movie.