20th Jul2020

‘Don’t Let Them In’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Scott Suter, Scott Britton, Louis Dunkin, Amanda Hunt, Michelle Luther, Rob Murphy, Aidan O’Neill, Amelie Willis, Sophie Willis | Written by Daniel Aldron, Mike Dunkin | Directed by Mike Dunkin

Shot over 14 days in South Wales last March, on a meagre budget of £35k, Don’t Let Them In is the first film produced by Wayout Pictures, which was only formed a year prior to production on this film beginning! A home invasion come mystery, Don’t Let Them In is set fifteen years after the brutal murder of a pretty young girl.

The culprit, David Pierce, is declared reformed and is finally released from the asylum where he has been held for over a decade; returning to his family home – The Twelve Bells Inn, a long abandoned hotel. When two social workers – Jenna and Karl – pay a routine visit, things are clearly not what they seem. Sinister masked intruders spark a savage confrontation, which leads to an all-out assault. Torn between their own safety and a duty to their client, the courageous heroes must outwit and fight relentlessly to survive the night…

Don’t Let Them In may be from a new production company but that doesn’t mean there isn’t experience behind the scenes, with director and co-writer Mike Dunkin having previously directed a couple of shorts, with this film his future debut. Dunkin has also edited a number of genre films, most notably The Lucifer Effect and The Harrowing, both executively produced by Jonathan Willis – a man who’s had his proverbial fingers in a LOT of UK-lensed horror productions over the years, including the likes of Let’s Be Evil, Don’t Knock Twice, Cabin 28, as well as a whole heap of movies from prolific Welsh filmmaker Andrew Jones.

I make mention of Willis, as a number of films he has been involved in have been “influenced” by much larger budgeted American productions and – if the blurb for Don’t Let Them In is to be believed – so has this film. Dubbed You’re Next meets The Purge, this film is actually better than that easy comparison lets on. This is a rural horror film that harkens back to the age-old British tradition of ‘country folk versus city folk’ – as seen in a myriad of British genre fare since as far back as I can remember. In fact, with its dilapidated setting and madman with a shotgun, I couldn’t help but think of Peckinpah’s Cornish-set Straw Dogs, probably the ultimate example of this (sub) genre.

Though Don’t Let Them In is not just your typical ‘country folk versus city folk’ story, no… This film also taps into the true terror of rural horror movies, weaving the supernatural slowly but assuredly into its plot as the film plays out. There’s also something of a campy aspect to the film too, mainly thanks to Aidan O’Neill’s over the top reactions to what’s happening. He’s certainly not one to hold back that’s for sure; but who would when you’re getting a face full of blood every ten minutes?!

With a few surprises up its sleeve Don’t Let Them In is a great example of how to do a first film right: a tight script, small locale and great performances all add up to another win for British horror. Here’s looking forward to seeing what Wayout Pictures does next.

Don’t Let Them In is released on DVD today, July 20th, courtesy of 4Digital Media.


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