Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2016
In the world of indie horror, Black Fawn has carved out a nice little niche for themselves with numerous films filled with monsters, blood and gore. However, in what might be their best film to date, ‘Let Her Out’ explores the battle between two siblings, the twist being they apparently occupy the same body and one of them has decided that sharing time is over.
We are introduced to Helen (Alanna LeVierge) who is a bike courier haunted by the death of her mothe r. A prostitute/sex worker who gets pregnant after being raped, Helen’s mother attempts to kill her while she is still in the womb, resulting in her own death instead. Now Helen carries that burden like an anchor weighing here down, to the point that she hangs out at the same hotel where her mother plied her trade and ended her life. An accident leads to the discovery of a strange tumor, hallucinations, memory lapses and the discovery that she was not alone in the womb and not really alone now, either.
Director Cody Calahan does a great job building the tension and mood with an eerie combination of music and visuals, blending them both in a way that compliments the continued deterioration of poor Helen. The scene shot in the subway is especially effective, dark and disturbing with a wonderful feeling of dread. It is a delicate balance that feels right and when the mood is set it makes the actor’s job just that much easier.
Calahan puts a lot of faith in his lead and thankfully she does not disappoint. The whole movie could have fallen apart quickly if the audience didn’t buy into the slow mental disintegration that was happening before their eyes but LeVierge does a great job in the split personality role, especially towards the end of the film when things really start to get crazy and disgusting. Actors Nina Kiri (Molly) and Adam Christie (Ed) also do a wonderful job of not only playing important supporting roles but being to effectively play off the crazy that LeVierge starts to ooze from her very pores.
The last part of the movie moves from slow burn to blood and guts galore, not surprising for a horror movie but because of the psychological nature of the film, feels almost like a punch to the stomach when it finally comes. There were a few moments in the final act that threatened to ruin the mood, silly choices made by characters that seemed more fitting in an ‘80’s slasher than this movie. However, the ending felt right and was nowhere near neat and tidy, leaving me feeling uneasy and satisfied all at the same time.
There are a lot of scenes that will seem familiar to horror veterans, both from classic horror films to even Black Fawn’s own stomach wrenching movie Bite but Calahan and company manage to keep the quality of the movie high enough that it seems more original than a straight copy. A great breakout performance by LeVierge, solid directing and some wonderful dread and gore all adds up to maybe the best film Black Fawn has put out to date.
Four stars out of five
- Actor Alanna LeVierge is excellent in the lead role of Helen
- Great visuals and music help add to the sense of dread
- Gorefest at the end is like a kick to the stomach
- A few parts start to slide into '80's slasher territory and not in a good way