Don’t Let Her In is the latest film from Full Moon and writer/director Ted Nicolaou, the team that gave us, among others, Subspecies, TerrorVision and Puppet Master vs Demonic Toys. Add to that cinematographer Howard Wexler whose list of credits stretches from Andy Sidaris’ Malibu Express and Hard Ticket to Hawaii to modern day Full Moon productions like Blade the Iron Cross and you have the makings of some retro fun. And to top it off Richard Band (Laserblast, Re-Animator) provided the score.
Amber (Kelly Curran, Love Is Blind) is an artist, her boyfriend Ben (Cole Pendery) is in a band. They must both be doing well because they have a huge loft somewhere in L.A. It’s so big they’ve got space to rent out. Serena (Lorin Doctor, The Brawler), who is also an artist, comes to look at it. For some reason her lack of references doesn’t bother the couple who are happy to have her as their new roommate.
It doesn’t take long before Amber is having nightmares and Serena is crawling into her bed to comfort her. She also has a go with Ben while Amber is in an unnaturally deep sleep.
Don’t Let Her In starts out feeling like a psycho thriller amped up with hints of witchcraft, Serena’s art involves crystals and she has a weird statue/idol among her belongings, and a fair amount of nudity. If I hadn’t seen the poster I might have thought that was what I was watching.
Once it hits the half hour, and halfway, mark Don’t Let Her In starts showing its true colours. Ben’s band gets a record deal and tour out of the blue leaving the two women alone together. A mysterious man named Elias (Austin James Parker, In the Pines) shows up with cryptic warnings about Serena. And, oddest of all, despite being on birth control, Amber discovers she’s pregnant.
Like The Resonator: Miskatonic U, Don’t let Her In was originally shown in two parts on Full Moon’s streaming service and is now available as a feature. Unlike that film though, this seems like it was always meant to be a feature, albeit a short one. And that’s a problem, because at an hour long, including credits it feels too rushed. The first half hour would have been the perfect build up for an eighty or ninety minute film.
But with only an hour to work with Don’t Let Her In goes from setup to climax with almost nothing in between. It feels like they simply cut the second act out of the script to save time and money. Which, knowing how cheap some of Full Moon’s films are, wouldn’t surprise me. Or given it’s small cast, the four characters are the only people we see in the film, it may have been another stripped down, shot on the run COVID production running just long enough to deliver some blood, boobs and beasts. And it does deliver them.
As Serena, Lorin Doctor has the looks and the moves to make you believe she could charm her way into the happy couple’s home and their bed even without black magic. And the makeup for her when she’s in her true form is convincing enough to make you believe she’s some kind of demon. The little bit of gore we get is similarly well done. Unfortunately her sacrificial dagger is obviously a plastic toy from the dollar store.
While it’s more of a snack than a satisfying dose of horror, Don’t Let Her In isn’t boring. If you’re looking for something to kill some time it should get the job done. It’s too bad they didn’t give it the extra ten or fifteen minutes it needed to really hit the mark.