DIRECTOR: Cody Calahan
Deborah Jayne Reilly Smith
Helen is a bike courier who one night is hit by a car while on the job. After suffering through that traumatic accident, she begins to experience blackouts, hallucinations and night terrors. When she goes to get a check-up with her local doctor, she'll soon discover that she has a tumour. The benign growth is that of her vanishing twin who was absorbed in utero. As her tumour starts to manifest, so does Helen's visions of a dark stranger who is trying to come to the surface. This begins to affect her emotional and psychological state.
Looking at the poster for Let Her Out, I was pretty excited to give this one a watch. I hadn't watched the trailer or seen any promotion material besides the poster before giving this one a spin. I was going into this one basically blind. Looking at the poster, I had thought I may be about to watch a movie that dealt with a lesbian relationship of some sort. The poster is extremely eye-catching and colourful, so I was ready to jump right into this movie and explore the horror.
Let Her Out opens with a pretty nasty motel rape scene. A pregnant woman is raped while held at knifepoint. The scene ends with the pregnant woman stabbing herself in the stomach. A title card with twenty-three years later appears. After an opening like that, I wasn't sure what to expect from this movie. I had no idea where this one was going. We are introduced to our main character, and for just a few minutes, this is the calm before the storm.
The filmmaker decides to give us a couple of minutes of character building before our main character gets into a horrible accident which sets into motion a series of pretty disturbing and nightmarish events. After her accident, Helen finds out that she has a tumour which was a twin while in utero. From this moment on, Let Her Out doesn't ever stop moving. It is one scene after another of brutal body horror. With only little moments that tie scenes together, this is one full-on assault on the eyes.
Usually, I will welcome a movie that delivers on the gore and bloodshed. With Let Her Out, It felt exhausting at times. This film is just an onslaught of body horror with not much of a story to string these moments of gore together. I think the biggest problem with there not being much of a plot at the core of this story is that once we get to the third act, nothing is ever really explained and nothing ends up making sense. If they did explain, I might have missed some important detail during all the bloodshed.
It's a double edge sword with Let Her Out. While the gore is rather consistent and it never really stops in this film, I think if it weren't in the movie, I'd have probably said the story was too slow, or the movie didn't move at a brisk pace. I can't deny that all the body horror that's on display isn't impressive. The movie is gruesome, and I really think that the highlight is how impressive the gore and blood effects are in the movie. There is one scene that involves a shard of glass being removed from someone's foot that had me wincing.
When it comes to the tension and suspense in Let Her Out. We have several moments that play incredibly well. I think what ruins a lot of this scariest moments in the film is the soundtrack. Whoever decided on the soundtrack should have really pulled back on a lot of the music cues. Before each build-up of tension, the music would start about a minute or so before any of the actual intense moments are meant to happen which ruined any shock value that the scene works towards. The music kills any chance of there to be a solid jump scare. It is so frequent and repetitive that after it kicks in for the third time, I started to get annoyed with it.
I think the director and writer were really inspired by the French horror film Martyrs. A lot of the more gruesome and horrific stuff is shot almost exactly like in that movie. The final showdown that reveals the movie's nightmarish villain is close to identical in structure to the reveal of the woman appearing from behind the bathtub sequence in Martyrs. Not a bad movie to be compared to but being that I love Martyrs, I couldn't help but notice a few similarities in the way the scenes were shot.
Lastly, the acting in the film is decent enough. The biggest discovery for me is lead actress Alanna LeVierge. The constant state of unease that she is meant to stay in is impressive. There is no real levity for her character. The entire running time, she is in this state of constant craziness. I hope to see her get more roles in the future as she delivers a rather sombre yet manic performance and manages to carry this film. I'd love to see her tackle a larger scale horror film and see how she handles that type of mainstream flick.
DEATH TOLL: 4
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A girl is raped at knifepoint.
- A woman is hit by a car while on her bike.
- A broken mirror covered in blood.
- A woman's throat is slit.
- A guy is repeatedly stabbed with a box cutter.
- A woman stabs herself in the pregnant belly.
- A woman steps on a shard of glass and pulls it out of her foot.
- A woman pulls her stitches out of her wound.
- A woman slices her wrist.
- A woman is stabbed in the stomach multiple times.
- A man is shown dead in bed with carvings on his body.
- A woman regurgitates hair.
- A girl has an infected arm.
- A woman chokes another woman.
- A woman pulls her skin off.
- A severed finger is removed from an open wound.
Let Her Out is a movie that just missed the mark for me. Maybe a rewatch down the line may change my opinion on the film. The film builds to a conclusion that doesn't make all that much sense, it contains terrible music cues which kill any tension and the movie really felt like it exhausted me. On the flipside, it has some standout body horror that would make David Cronenberg happy and a solid lead performance from Alanna LeVierge. I think this was more enjoyable than the Martyrs remake which this movie seems to be inspired by here.