Don’t Let Him In should really be called Carry On Up The Woods.
Him In should really be called Carry On Up The Woods. In fact,
approached as an absurdist comedy it would probably work – you might imagine
the horrendous acting, dodgy camerawork, faded out colours, stilted script,
pantomime baddies and distinctly dated look of it are all deliberate. This is like a first effort by film
students. Or, full of amateur
mistakes, something a film lecturer might show his students as an example of
how not to make a movie!
The plot is basic stuff but could have worked in the right
hands – Paige and her boyfriend Calvin head into the English countryside for a
weekend break, and reluctantly allow Calvin’s kid sister to bring along
big-mouthed city trader Tristan, who she seems to have picked up after a night
out somewhere, and once ensconced in their rural hideaway learn that a serial
killer is on the prowl.
Unfortunately, from continuity errors (a metal stake used in
one scene suddenly becomes twice the size in another) to the cringiest of lines
(when a seriously wounded man is brought into the group’s cottage, Paige
suddenly announces that she’s a nurse, saying: “I’m a qualified nurse – I’m
just going to have a look at your wounds, is that ok?”) it doesn’t live up to
the potential of its basic yet effective scary storyline.
Kelly Smith, though she
may enjoy a sparkling career and have real talent as editor on films like The Queen and In Bruges, her forte is clearly not direction. Don’t Let Him In
looks, to be honest, like it was written in an afternoon. The plot and script are
a low watermark of screenwriting. PC Plod on his bike with the red beard,
squint and heavily accented West Country accent is just one of the
unintentionally hilarious characters Its writer sees fit to include.
Sophie Linfield playing one of the female leads Paige,
couldn’t act her way out of a paper bag. But she is in no way helped by the
director. One wonders if any of
the scenes were actually shot more than once. This could of course become a cult favourite at late-night
cinema clubs if viewed as a black comedy, like Ed Wood’s Plan Nine from
Outer Space. Perhaps this is what Smith intended from the beginning, and
the joke’s on us. Viewed in the right spirit, this Halloween release could be
the basis for a very enjoyable evening with friends!