The folks at Black Fawn Films have consistently brought us great Canadian horror with Bite, The Door, and Bed of the Dead, which is also screening at TADFF this year. They delve into more gore with the visually enticing Let Her Out.
Helen (Alanna LeVierge) is a lost soul. Her mother, a prostitute at a seedy motel, has a violent encounter with mysterious customer one night. She becomes pregnant with Helen, and unsure of the baby inside her, attempts an abortion in the most gruesome manner. Thankfully, Helen survives, but her mother does not. Helen becomes an adult with no real connection to her roots save the same motel her mother worked out of, which has become a place of comfort for her.
After being hit by a car, Helen begins to black out and becomes a danger to herself. Several scans later reveal she has absorbed her twin in the womb and that twin is a growing tumor in her brain. Things become more and more treacherous as Helen struggles with her identity, mental state and the phantom sibling inside her.
Let Her Out is a beautiful and disturbing film. The contrasting muted and neon palette combined with sweeping views of Toronto’s cityscape creates a clean backdrop for some seriously gross-out gore. There were plenty of nods to Cronenberg and J-horror, but it was done well and far from mimicry. The film is set up to give us a sense of detachment right from the opening scenes as Helen’s mother goes through the motions with her paying clients. It sets the tone for Helen’s disconnect with herself and her surroundings. The elements of suspense and surprise were well used, and the sinister portrait Helen receives from a lover is a great (but underused) device to add doubt about her mental state.
LeVierge does the Helen’s character justice as a young woman unravelling from the threat of an elusive and controlling enemy, and delves deep for an extreme climax to the film. Nina Kiri as Helen’s self-absorbed best friend Molly, and Adam Christie as Ed, Molly’s narcissistic creepy boyfriend were memorable, but in a vicious, frenemy way. They revolved between hot and cold, and at times were a little unbelievable as they glossed over moments of Helen’s distress. Nevertheless, as a trio they were entertaining.
See this film if you like a touch of sophistication with your gore, a haunting twin story and what is most likely another hit for the Black Fawn crew.