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Don’t Let Him In


Rod Lott January 19th, 2012

One of the many joys of “Grindhouse” was Edgar Wright’s fake trailer for “Don’t,” which  hilariously poked fun at the thrillers and frighteners of the 1970s whose titles warned viewers not to go somewhere or do something: “Don’t Open Till Christmas,” “Don’t Go in the Basement,” “Don’t Look in the Attic,” etc.


I couldn’t help but think of that throughout the whole of “Don't Let Him In.” Don’t. Don’t. Don’t!

The “Him” of this particular title refers to “the Tree Surgeon,” the serial killer who comprises a quarter of a group going off to a cottage retreat for the weekend. Half of the group is a secure couple; the other half is a girl and her one-night stand.

You may know what happens from there. You may not know, however, that when one cast member suffers a terrible injury, his understated response is, "Get me a towel." You may say the same to clean up the mess that this psychological thriller is, for the very fact that it simply lacks thrills.

On the DVD extras, well-meaning, feature-debuting writer/director Kelly Smith says he cast the picture in the mold of such low-key, slow-burning British ’70s suspensers as “And Soon the Darkness.” He also notably mentions the idea began as a segment of an anthology film that never came to be. Although “Don’t Let Him In” is awfully compact at 79 minutes, its thin material might have caught fire in that shorter format. —Rod Lott

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