Every part of this country is crawling with local legends and folk monsters. You got Mothman in Virginia, The Lake Champlain Monster in Vermont, and Bigfoot is everywhere. In more esoteric circles and a bit more modern tales, there’s The Black Eyed Children. Allegedly, they’re groups of pale kids that usually look like teenagers and appear at night with hoodies and sunglasses. They’ve been known to harass people or invade homes and kidnap people. Needless to say, a fascinating and creepy modern nightmare creature is a good basis for a horror movie.
Let Us In takes place in a small town where Emily Sparks (Makenzie Moss, The Unicorn) is trying to readjust after the tragic death of a friend. She’s an outcast who is bullied by the popular kids and works hard on science experiments with the equally gifted Christopher (O’Neill Monahan, Killer In Law) to try and win a big prize and a trip to Cape Canaveral. But when she’s attacked by a gang of Black Eyed Kids demanding “Let Us In” and many of her friends and fellow students are getting abducted, she must put her skills to the test and try to find a way to stop them. The key possibly residing with local neighborhood boogeyman “Mean” Mr. Munch (Tobin Bell, SAW) and the town’s history.
Going in, I wasn’t sure what to expect from a movie like this but it definitely skews toward a younger audience than I initially imagined. In terms of style, it’s like a feature length Goosebumps or Are You Afraid Of The Dark? episode and in-line with something like The Monster Squad. There is some violence including limbs getting broken by the nefarious Black Eyed Children, but bloodless for the most part and with no overt gore. Which is not to say there are no scares, some of the sequences of the assaulting BECs and home invasions including one by ceiling window were good shocking moments. Unfortunately, the plot lines between Emily’s every day life and the overarching mystery don’t mesh quite as well. They don’t connect for a large chunk of the movie and interest in the Black Eyed Children is far bigger than seeing Emily and her friends go about their day. Especially when the dialogue is oversaturated with slang and catchphrases, making things a little awkwardly paced.
Tobin Bell is highlighted as a member of the cast, but like many independent projects he’s been attached to, his screen time is sadly minimal. But what scenes they are! Without going too deep into it, Bell as Mr. Munch has an incredible scene involving him playing piano. His character is the typical ‘old guy who knows what’s really going on’ in a horror movie, but it’s a role he plays well and one of the most engaging scenes in the movie. When he’s not ominously on his porch or tending his line.
The rest of the cast are decent and help fill out the story. Moss and Monahan have a good dynamic as best friends Emily and Christopher and do a great job of displaying genuine terror when stalked by the insidious Black Eyed Children. The BEC themselves are kind of eerie though undercut by their stiff performances and whenever they’re supposed to have ‘funny’ dialogue with the other kids.
Overall, Let Us In is an indie young adult horror effort that probably won’t go over as well with older audiences and especially more veteran horror fans, but it does seem like the kind of movie that would be a good start for younger viewers wanting to dip their toes into tales of terror.
Let Us In is available for rental/purchase VOD and Digitally.