Check out my review of Let Her Out, a Canadian horror film starring Alanna LeVierge, directed by Cody Calahan, and written by Cody Calahan and Adam Seybold.
When I first heard about Let Her Out, I was curious to see it because I am a fan of what Canadian indie horror companies Black Fawn and Breakthrough Entertainment have been putting out. I was interested to see what it was like, but I wasn’t overly excited. In my experience, the phantom twin concept is kind of boring. The last time I watched something with an evil unborn twin was the mostly forgettable The Unborn (no disrespect, Gary Oldman).
And so, I got my morning cup of tea and my slice of pie for breakfast (gimme a break, it was my day off!) and sat down to see what it was all about.
90 minutes later my tea was cold and my pie uneaten.
Let Her Out starts with a really dark opening scene. A woman in a hotel room is working as a prostitute, and at the end of her long evening, a man breaks in and rapes her. She ends up pregnant, and later stabs herself in the belly with a pair of scissors.
I would like to say that happier times lay ahead, but not so much.
The story picks up 23 years later, when her daughter, Helen, ends up in an accident. Since the accident, she has been experiencing blackouts, hearing voices and having hallucinations. When the doctor checks her out, they discover that she has “vanishing twin syndrome,” a rare condition in which pieces of a twin that dies in utero are absorbed into the twin fetus instead of into mother’s body. As the movie continues, the expected happens as the twin begins to slowly take over Helen’s body and mind.
What Let Her Out does more successfully than other stories of this type is to really build the unease by keeping the perspective through Helen alone. When she has a blackout, she will be in one place and then suddenly in another. We don’t know for sure what happens in these moments, and are left to put the pieces into place for ourselves. I really appreciated this as a lot of possession-type stories have a tendency to really spoon-feed the story to the audience. The tension in this movie is built extremely effectively as the twin takes over; the gaps between blackouts get progressively shorter as we see Helen losing her grip on reality.
I also was not expecting this film to be so amazingly artistic! The lighting is incredible and really does an excellent job at conveying time of day and mood by highlighting different colours. The practical effects are great and the gore is effective. While this is not a movie that depends on gore for its scares, it sure knows when and how to use it. There is a scene in a subway station that leaves you reeling from a major case of “Wow! That escalated quickly!”
The one thing that stopped this from becoming an instant classic for me was the run time….I really felt that it deserved to be a little bit longer. With a little bit of extra time, it could have really delved into Helen’s mental state and make the audience really and truly invested in her character.
Overall, this movie was a really unexpected treat! A moody, atmospheric, and creative little horror movie that won’t disappoint!
Check out the trailer on the Black Fawn YouTube page here.