I watch a lot of low budget and indie movies – a whole lot of what a lot of people would term “crap”. Why? Because every now and again you come across something decent. For every Astro, there’s Solis. For every Winterskin, there’s The Dwelling. Don’t Let Them In, made for the princely sum of £35K, is definitely one of the better examples of low budget horror I’ve seen in a while. It’s got a real Village in the Woods vibe, so if you liked that then this is worth a looksee.
The plot is fairly straight forward, at least to begin with. Two social workers, Karl (Aidan O’Neill) and Jenna (Michelle Luther) decide that even though it’s last thing on a Friday and Karl would rather be sitting at home with his feet up, they’re going to head out to the middle of nowhere to check on a recently released client. They find their supposedly rehabilitated client, David (Scott Suter) living in a run down old hotel, the windows and doors barricaded.
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It swiftly becomes clear that all is not well and as the day turns to night the three find themselves trapped in a fight for their lives against hooded and masked figures determined to get inside and kill anyone who gets in their way. Really these films teach us that you should never leave urban centres, because bad, bad things happen out in the sticks. Looking at you Straw Dogs and American Werewolf in London. Hell, even Torchwood knew the farmers were out to get you. Just look at the S1 episode ‘Countrycide’.
Don’t Let Them In is far more Night of the Living Dead than it is The Purge, and while the acting isn’t going to set the world on fire, it’s decently acted, decently scripted and well presented. The gore effects are nicely done, and there are even a couple of jumpscares that didn’t feel like they were cheap shots just to make an audience flinch. The only real complaint could be the third act where… well, we won’t go into spoiler territory but the film shifts gears and introduces some new story aspects which don’t entirely mesh with the first parts of the film. It’s not a deal breaker, but it requires a bit of a mental gear change.
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The soundtrack is serviceable, if nothing special. It does the job, carrying the scenes along, even if every now and again it does seem that whoever is playing only knows a handful of chords. There’s no composer credit, which is perhaps unsurprising for a movie with such a small budget. Don’t expect to be rushing out to buy this from La-La Land Records any time now.
All in all, this is exactly what you can expect from the first film from a new company working with a tiny budget. It makes good use of the resources it has and tells an engaging story, only slightly let down by the decisions made for the latter half of the film that don’t quite gel as well as they could. Director Mike Dunkin and co-writer Daniel Aldron can be proud of their first full-length effort.
Don’t Let them In is out now on Digital release.