Body horror Let Her Out, directed by Cody Calahan, follows Helen [Alanna LeVierge], a bike courier who suffers a traumatic accident. Whilst she is reassured her recovery will be simple and fast, she begins to experience black-out episodes, hallucinations and nightmares. When her less than sympathetic best friend has had enough of her new-found strange ways she heads off for a brain scan and finds that she has a benign tumour – the remnants perhaps of a twin that she absorbed in utero. Doctors book Helen in for surgery but the twin has plans for escape without intervention of scalpels and MRI scanners…

Let Her Out is the latest from Canadian indie horror studio Black Fawn Films, directed by Cody Calahan, who also produced Bite and directed viral horror Antisocial and its sequel for Black Fawn studio.

The premise is interesting – vanishing twin syndrome is a thing, who knew?! – despite that thought-provoking quality, unfortunately the film initially fails to grab hold. The eerie rape-fuelled opening scenes resulting in the death of Helen’s prostitute mother fails to add anything to the plot, it sets it up as somehow relevant but I’m not sure if it’s needed. Same goes for the bit-too-literal painting of Helen from a sort-of-boyfriend character which keeps reappearing even though she discards of it, presumably as some kind of metaphor for the encroaching evil twin. There are just unnecessary add-ons to an otherwise stylish and sleek film.

The character relationships that don’t quite convince make it hard to invest emotionally, Helen’s friend/roommate is intolerable and the least sympathetic when it comes to her friend finding out she has a brain tumour. Considering all these factors, aside from one or two generic scares the first forty minutes really drag.

As Helen’s twin’s influence increases however, the film almost indiscernibly tightens its grip, working itself into a panicked rhythm that mirrors a gradually fracturing mental state. It feels fragmented and at times hard to follow but this is effective as we are experiencing the film through the eyes of Helen’s confusion and ultimate engulfing.

The whole of Let Her Out is set after dark, with soft blues and dusty dimmed lights or enclosed inside an apartment – it feels claustrophobic which adds to the anxiety our protagonist is giving the audience. The relentless evening scenes nicely evoke the blurry, hyperreal sensation of waking in the middle of the night, obscuring the lines between reality, dreams and fragmented memories. It’s a feel that works well for a film whose central premise harbours a theme of hiding from what lives within and once again we are put in the shoes of the protagonist oftentimes as clueless as she is as to what she may have done or where she may have been. At times this is a little disorientating and exasperating but that may be impatience induced by the slowness of the first half.

The kill scenes and grotesque body mutilation scenes strengthen the film. After some bog standard lazy horror scares – cue blood writing on the mirror and a ghost-like girl under the bed – some proper gore and blood spattered scenes juxtapose the stillness and flickers of madness, cementing the final psychological and somewhat physical change in Helen. LeVierge finally comes into her stride in the performance with the film’s most brutal kill. This scene definitely amped up the excitement that this slow burn was initially lacking and finally captured my full attention.

Overall Let Her Out coasted in places but was fairly enjoyable and credit should be given to the obvious effort given to style and ambience for the audience. I’m not sure horror fans will be finding any major scares but the gross out factor is there for fans of gore and body horror.

DVD Review: Let Her Out
3.5Overall Score
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About The Author

Emily Stockham

Emily is from South London and has a degree in English Literature. Emily is a marketing assistant who writes about films and music in her spare time. Horror and grindhouse are her thing - although she will happily watch anything if it means a trip to the cinema.