DVD Review: Don’t Let Him In [MA15]

Dir: Kelly Smith
Starring: Sophie Linfield, Sam Hazeldine, Gordon Alexander

The Film:
From the get go we know we’re in for something gruesome, as the opening credit sequence tells us with Don’t Let Him In. It then tells us what led up to the event as we rewind a few days. We meet four characters, two of which are brother and sister; with those two plus the brother’s girlfriend having planned a weekend get away. The fourth is the sister’s one night stand who needs to stay invisible for the weekend so he tags along. He doesn’t get along with anyone, and it is clear this trip will be miserable. They arrive at an isolated location, near the woods (where else) and the local police shows up to welcome them and make them aware there is a sadistic serial killer around. This plays to their fears, as a mysterious and injured man shows up. Things are not what they seem, so who really poses a danger and who will be the innocent victims?

Don’t Let Him In is trying to be a few different things at once, is it a 70’s style slasher film? Kind of! Is it a mystery? Kind of! Is it a thriller? Kind of! It sort of isn’t sure exactly what it wants to be, and instead is a number of things, and while at first it worked, towards the middle it took an unbalanced turned which really brought it down. It plays by the numbers for the many genre’s it wants to be, and I don’t think it really took any risks. It isn’t a bad film, but it isn’t a great one either. This ends up being the above average low budget horror genre affair.

The first half of the film did a great job of establishing the situation giving us some characters and trying to give a bit of development so maybe the audience would care. It wasn’t really easy to care, but at the same time they seemed normal enough and weren’t of the brainless clueless type, so I didn’t want to see anything happen to them. It is clear however; that there is someone there who isn’t what they appear and if you are clued in you’ll guess it easily enough.

Don’t Let Him In really felt inspired by classic 70’s genre slasher films, things like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, aiming for that kind of slimey and grimey look in regards to the violence. Not a bad thing at all, as I felt those aspects played really well, I felt the mystery itself was rather weak and the pay off didn’t amount to much. If anything I’d have loved to have seen a longer film, something was missing here. The run time is rather short, and especially during the second half it felt like it was missing some meat.

The film is a decent watch, it is certainly better than a lot of low budget genre efforts and I felt there was quite a bit of effort put forth by director and co-writer Kelly Smith. The cast did a fine job, no one really stood out more than someone else, and they all were quite good and convincing for the most part. It certainly could have been much more, but as a genre fan it wasn’t a waste and I appreciate the attempt.

The Australian DVD:
The DVD I reviewed was a screener, so I am unable to comment on Picture/Audio quality.


DVD details here.

Thanks to Bill care of Accent Film Entertainment for the copy.

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