Truth is, The People Under the Stairs is far from what I remember. Racially, few horror films top the culturally ridiculous situations this film provides. Under the guise of a fairy-tale, this film follows a Black family that is getting evicted all thanks to the evil greedy White family. Kwanzaa enthusiast Leroy (Ving Rhames) finds a treasure map during a liquor store robbery (He would). Enlisting the help of a child, he plans to demonstrate his lack of parenting skills by breaking in the house to find gold coins. Upon entering the evil whitey's house, people are killed and deformed feral creatures exist under the stairs with no exit visible.
At the end of the film, the black community collaborates to purge the evil from the only white folks on the block. At first glance, one could skip over the fact that The People Under the Stairs is indeed an urban horror film. It's a bit bizarre for Craven to create a film like this. He's never done anything similar and he has recently talked about an upcoming sequel allegedly concerning an adult Alice. Ideally, a film from that standpoint couldn't be hard to make. Combine elements of May with that of the original script and you got yourself a decent follow-up of depravity.
Aside from the racial absurdity, The People Under the Stairs finds itself being an amendable horror effort syncing insanity with fleshy disorders and a magical house of traps akin to a demonic version of Home Alone. This nuclear family from hell creates a true feeling of suspense as our tiny hero hides in labyrinthine crevices in the wall. The set pieces are truly marvelous providing a sense of marvel, mystery, and easily reflective of creating forts as a child. If you could permit a child to watch a single horror film, this would be almost kid tested - mother approved.
The People Under the Stairs is a horror film that is easy to swallow and become engrossed in. This surreal fairy-tale of coming-to-age matter is nothing new but never been so starkly shot with such brutality behind it. This is perhaps my favorite Wes Craven film for it being so immersible in its own story. Horror reaches new levels of black comedy (not urban comedy, mind you). Everything ends smoothly if not for the disappointing ending of the C.H.U.D. looking creatures escaping into society with the intent of relaying a pointless message. The People Under the Stairs is Craven's greatest visual accomplishment as well as being a trippy horror film.