Don’t Let Him In is just barely a Slasher film. In fact, it tries to be a little too much for its own good.
It begins as a fairly typical Slasher, with two couples headed to an isolated cabin the environs of which, they are duly informed, are the apparent hunting grounds of a serial killer. During the second act, however, the movie morphs into a psychological thriller, something akin to Malice, The Stepfather, or Sleeping with the Enemy, before reverting back to Slasher for the final act.
This back and forth, meant, I can only guess, to ratchet up the tension and give the impression that the protagonists are under attack from multiple fronts, creates an uneven pace and allows for only the most basic of Slasher storylines.
In fact, the only truly original thing about the movie is that it is, in a sense, two movies in one—or, more accurately, two halves of two separate films stitched together to form a rather awkward whole. Taken alone, those Slasher elements that are present are simply not enough to sustain the viewer looking for a modern entry in the sub-genre, yet just enough to turn off those viewers in search of a thriller.
To make matters worse, the twists that signal and precipitate the switch from Slasher to thriller and back again are far too obvious and provide no real surprises. This is all rather unfortunate because the killer, nicknamed the Tree Surgeon because he likes to festoon branches with the limbs and entrails of his victims, had potential. If the filmmakers had simply stuck to their Tree Surgeon concept, fleshed it out, and keyed in on the undeniably arresting visual of a tree decorated with busted flesh, they might have produced something interesting. Instead, they stretched themselves and their concept thin.
This is not a terrible film. The acting and technical aspects are basic at best, but there are some fairly tense scenes (all in the second act, none actually relating to the Slasher portions of the film) and, as mentioned, the concept and visual of the Tree Surgeon’s work are interesting; but there’s just not enough here to recommend.
Length: 80 min