Don’t Let Them In (2020)

Two social workers checking in on an unstable individual find themselves in the fight of their lives when several masked individuals appear, seemingly intent on harming them.

The tl;dr Review:

Don’t Let Them In is a fantastic home invasion horror type film, with just enough tropes to keep it familiar, while also occasionally tweaking the formula to keep it refreshing.

There’s more than enough blood and violence to appeal to those looking for a violent horror film, while also having a very fascinating story to keep the viewer hooked from beginning to end.

Speaking of which, the ending is a very unpredictable surprise.

The Full Review:

Derelict hotel, sinister masked people, and carnage?

Yep, that describes a chunk of Don’t Let Them In, but it still doesn’t quite accurately describe it.

The story here is actually so well written that there’s more content to the premise than meets the eye, and once the backstory gets slowly revealed, you’re hooked for the entire run of the film. David, the unstable individual the social workers check in on, has quite the layers to his story, and it makes everything click together quite well.

Though, on that note, the real note of praise is the amount of detail put into character personalities and character development, which just speaks to the passion and effort that Daniel Aldron and Mike Dunkin (also the director) put into this. Each character has their very specific personalities slowly developed and transformed through the film, and it makes sense. It actually makes quite a lot of sense, all things considered.

The overall writing is just absolutely phenomenal in terms of level of detail and overall backstory. It seems like a typical home invasion film until questions are slowly answered.

Scott Suter’s performance as David is the best in the film. The depiction of mental health issues is done properly, and Scott’s performance is where most of the credit is due for that. He plays his character incredibly well, including all the paranoid ticks and twitches. Michelle Luther and Aidan O’Neill also do a pretty good job as social workers Jenna and Karl, respectively, though I do have to note that there isn’t much chemistry between the two (great individual performances, but the comic relief bits never quite connected.

Though on that note, I do want to say that the comic relief is why I like Karl’s character. Yes, he’s a bit of a prick, but he’s also somewhat well-intentioned, even though he’s still a bit of a prick. Humour as a coping mechanism makes sense, and it speaks more levels as to the quality of writing than it normally would.

In terms of camera work, it’s good enough to occasionally catch you off guard with a creatively unpredictable camera angle and an occasionally unexpected close-up, but that’s honestly all that’s of note in terms of it. It’s good overall cinematography but nothing overly noteworthy sticks out, as it’s filmed mostly like a home invasion film (which are basically offshoots of slasher films, though I’m pretty sure someone is going to angrily try to correct me on that).

On the note of visuals, yes this is quite bloody and quite violent, and the calculated attacks by the masked individuals play out quite well in that regard. It’s not scary, perse, but it makes up for that by being mostly unpredictable, and the pace quickens relatively fast towards the end. All that summed up means that there’s a lot of entertainment value here.

On a last note, before I end the review, the decaying hotel is perfect. It makes everything seem ominous once Jenna and Karl arrive at the hotel, and it continues to be ominous as Don’t Let Them In reaches its very tense conclusion.

There’s a lot of entertainment value here, everything is written well (especially in terms of backstory and personality arcs), and the performances are pretty good. Don’t Let Them In is a noteworthy, entertaining home invasion horror film.

Or is that hotel invasion?

Okay, technically hotel invasion, but the subgenre is home invasion. So both.

-Joseph

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