31 Days of Hallowe’en 2022, Day 9: Let the Wrong One In [2021]

I have to just say that a vampire film set in Dublin, where there is a conspicuous lack of sun even during the day, is fucking hilarious. So despite its satirical title of Let the Wrong One In, this Irish comedy, directed by Connor McMahon, actually comes with its own brand of humour.

The film In stars Karl Rice as Matt, a young supermarket worker who lives with his mum (Hilda Fay) in Dublin. Matt’s brother Deco (Eoin Duffy), has long been kicked out of the house after crimes including drug use, thieving the family telly, and having a fuck-awful moustache. When Deco returns almost ablaze from the sun’s rays, Matt has to be the one to tell his loser brother that he’s now a vampire. But while trying to help it soon becomes apparent that Deco’s not the only bloodsucker in town.

As allegories for drug addiction and sibling estrangement go, vampirism would normally be heavy-handed but not in a comedy wearing its heart and laughs on its sleeve. The gags do come thick and fast and the two leads are capable as a pair of warring brothers, but the largely one-place setting and the dips in pace cause this to a slog a wee bit. Moreover, the production values felt TV-quality, and the plot simplistic enough that it could have been a 30-40-minute sitcom episode, making this film feel longer than its (too long) 100 minutes. Some of the fighting repeats itself (although I guess that’s true to form with brothers), and it’s choreographed in a not-terribly-interesting way, despite Deco’s newfound vampire strength and reflexes. Mary Murray as villain Sheila is underdeveloped but fun, though I feel like the film didn’t quite know what to do with Anthony Head and his train-loving would-be vampire slayer. And as far as the overall themes go, it’s relatable to anyone who has similar sibling struggles to Matt, even if the resolution of that thread is a little too neat to swallow.

On balance I’d still recommend this, because we need more deadpan Irish horror-comedies, and I’d like to see what this director does next. It’s no What We Do in the Shadows, but here are enough cackle-worthy moments and wry horror references, as well as beats of genuine heart and warmth that the combination just-about works. I’d say this is ideal to throw on for a group watch or party setting.

Score: πŸŽƒπŸŽƒπŸŽƒ

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