Written by Adam Seybold from a story by Seybold and director Cody Calahan, Let Her Out is an aesthetically appealing horror movie with a script that doesn’t always measure up to the same lofty standards.
Alanna LeVierge is Helen, a twenty-three year old woman who has an “invisible twin” inside her that she absorbed when she was a fetus. The tiny twin has lived in her brain all this time, but after Helen is hit by a car, the brain fetus decides it wants to live a full life. Unfortunately for Helen, the only way the twin can do this is by taking over her body.
LeVierge, who is in nearly every scene, is absolutely wonderful in her dual role. She’s subdued as the good twin, and totally believable as the violent, demonic twin. Nina Kiri is also quite good in her role as Helen’s best friend Molly. Adam Christie rounds out the cast as Molly’s boyfriend, who is on the surface a charming acting student, but a bit of a sociopath underneath.
I liked Let Her Out a lot, but for reasons other than the script. I mean, yeah, maybe don’t have a doctor explain how a car crash has stimulated the growth of a brain fetus after twenty-three years of laying dormant, at least not in too much detail. We maybe don’t need to look too far under the hood with that one. This is just one example of the awkward exposition that come from the mouths of various characters throughout the film.
But, man, Calahan definitely went all out with the gore. Watching Let Her Out is a very visceral experience, that’s for sure, especially because of the believable prosthetics and the vivid sound design. Seriously, those bone crunching and flesh peeling sounds had me cringing. I was certainly paying attention during those moments when, for example, Helen pulls out a finger that’s somehow grown underneath her arm. That’s where the film is most effective. It’s in these moments when we really understand that Helen is someone at war with her own body and mind. This is one area where the script succeeds: it convincingly chronicles Helen’s increasingly losing attempt to stay in control.
Yep. This is body horror at its best in that the dread we feel comes from the realization that our bodies as well as our minds are fragile, and subject to the chaotic whims of the universe. Hoo-boy, that dread is here in spades.
And the soundtrack by Steph Copeland really heightens that dread. The music is ambient when it needs to be, but at other times it’s vibrant, angry, paranoid. The music is especially noticeable in the opening scenes of the film, where there’s little dialogue and nearly everything is communicated in facial expressions, gestures, and color.
And speaking of color, it certainly plays a big role in the aesthetic success of Let Her Out. A gorgeous neon color palette is used for more dreamlike scenes, but otherwise Calahan relies on more naturalistic cinematography. The contrasts are quite vivid.
Let Her Out is a hell of an experience. Very visually appealing, very visceral. If the story isn’t quite up to snuff, the rest of the movie makes that easily forgivable.
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