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Thursday, June 4, 2020

Review: Don't Let Them In

Director: Mike Dunkin
Screenplay: Daniel Aldron and Mike Dunkin
Year: 2020

Two social workers go deep into a desolated area to check on the status of one of their patients. Once they reach the house where the patient lives, they notice his strange behavior and strange things start happening around the house. Both social workers and the patient remain trapped inside the house as they try to avoid a group of masked individuals from getting inside. 

The first thing I want to mention about the movie is the budget with which it was made; a tight £35,000. It is a feat to complete a movie with that budget, but it also brings with it some inherent issues. The reason I emphasize this is to put everything in context as some of these problems are evident but can be understood after knowing this fact.

Where its limitations are more evident are in the visual and audio sections. The image quality changes between takes and is more evident in low-light scenes that result in an underexposed and granular image. The audio editing, in general, is fine, but in a particular part of the movie an echo filter is used that only manages to be a distraction instead of emulating the sound of a confined space.

One of the strengths of the first directing work of Mike Dunkin is the gore, which is unexpected, explicit, and visceral, but at the same time, the scenes in which it is featured are funny thanks to a running joke. The first of this scene takes place as an instantaneous decapitation that besides being explicit, its a glimpse of something much more sinister behind the masked individuals that roam the house. However, these scenes are few and far between and leave you wishing for more. 

Between the gore scenes, the plot unfolds, in which we have the duo of social workers Karl and Jenna, interpreted by Aidan O’Neill and Michelle Luther (“Being Human”) and the patient David, interpreted by Scott Suter (“Viking Legacy”). Most of the plot takes place among the two social workers, which ends up being an issue because Karl is a very irritating character with whom it is impossible to feel empathy. Actually, for most of the movie I was hoping for this character to disappear; the whole opposite emotion it is supposed to provoke. 

Similarly, there are several details on the script of Daniel Aldron and Mike Dunkin that affects the quality of the movie. The clearer of these issues is that once the big plot twist is revealed, there had already been some clear clues around that were easy to get and loses some surprise. Also, the behavior of the masked individuals that roam the house chances in function of what is needed for the plot and is not consistent, as well as some moments were the reactions from the characters are not at all realistic.

If you keep in mind the budget with which this was made and you can ignore some of its problems, “Don’t Let Them In” can end up being an entertaining horror movie. In my case, several of these problems are too distracting and some had nothing to do with the budget. For sure the experience is much more rewarding if you don’t take it as seriously as I did.

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