We stay in Canada, where my last blog post followed the footsteps of a very unusual vampire, this time to take a look at a much more conventional movie.
In fact, body horror – the sub-genre Let Her Out belongs to – has had its peak during the late 90s/early 00s, with many flicks exploiting the wearing away, rotting and destruction of human flesh caused by some sort of inner issue.
Let Her Out, written and directed by Cody Calahan (Antisocial and Antisocial 2), kicks off, quite in-your-face, with a prostitute tirelessly banging a stream of clients, until some stranger breaks into her motel room and rapes her. As a result, she gets pregnant and decides to kill herself and the baby by stubbing her own womb with scissors.
23 years down the line, Helen (Alana LeVierge) begins to have awful visions and hallucinations that cause the girl to have black holes in her memory and to forget where she’s been and what she’s done for long periods of time. Lately, it’s discovered that Helen’s mom was the prostitute at the beginning of the movie – she was pregnant with twins and, when she tried to kill them, she succeeded only partially, since one of the foetuses attached to the other in order to survive.
Now, Helen is becoming a dangerous person, because the evil being inside her is evolving, taking over the girl’s body and wearing off her consciousness and physicality.
You can tell from these few lines: this is a rather disturbing and off-putting flick which, mostly, works very well within the body horror sub-genre realm.
As I often like to remind my viewers of, fear is a highly subjective matter. Personally, throughout the first hour of the movie, Let Her Out had a strong grip on me and was genuinely scary – a feeling that’s hard to experience after watching countless of horror films. Sure the great makeup and practical effects helped quite a bit!
Mostly, the first hour of this movie succeeds at combining effective jump-scares with an intense, powerfully unsettling atmosphere, which is enhanced by the clever use of colours and music.
In terms of look-and-feel, Let Her Out is very much reminiscent of another ‘disturbing’ movie called Starry Eyes (2014… check this one out if you haven’t yet). Both these flicks combine shock value with great technical feature that make for a pleasant viewing experience. In a very twisted way, that is.
What I’m saying here is that this film doesn’t feel like an indie movie at all: the production values are outstanding. The shot composition is neat and spotless, giving the great cinematography a boost; the soundtrack is eerie and unnerving, which helps to create the dreadful atmosphere mentioned above; the dark, sombre colours provide the viewer with a hopeless universe where there’s no escape for the characters. Combine all of that with some stylisation and you have a treat for the eye!
Since I mentioned the characters, I must also say they’re bland and one-dimensional. Where I’d often consider that as a major flaw, in this type of physical horror, characters’ development isn’t required. Think about that: the protagonists’ body is nothing more than a vessel carrying a being inside, thus a ‘vessel’ doesn’t need to be given strong traits.
The acting, however, is highly disappointing even for an indie flick. The lead girl is just a whiner: Alana LaVierge’s performance is annoying, everything she does is irritating. Yet, the supporting cast is subpar and their acting feels cheap and amateur.
Despite the performances being all-around bad, the only big issue I have with Let Her Out revolves around its de-evolution: in fact, the last 20/25 minutes of this film are vastly anticlimactic and turn the story into a formulaic, dull horror flick filled with clichés. My guess is that the filmmakers had a great concept for the script but no idea about how to conclude the story – the very last shot seems to prove what I’m saying.
At the end, Let Her Out (very tame title, by the way) isn’t anything exceptional and it surely has flaws. Nevertheless, I liked it very much – I thought it was scary, unnerving, intense to the point that I could overlook the inconsistencies. Strongly recommended if you like ‘disturbing’ and uneasy films. Cheers!