J.B. Spins

Jazz, film, and improvised culture.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Brooklyn Horror ’16: Let Her Out

Vanishing Twin Syndrome (VTS) is probably even more legit and documented in the real world than multiple personality disorder, but it is just a well suited for horror film exploitation. Typically, there are few long term effects when an early gestating fetus dies in utero and is absorbed by its twin. However, little orphan Helen’s vanished Hellspawn twin will start asserting itself when it is reawakened by some especially unfortunate accident trauma. Violent anti-social behavior inevitably follows in Cody Calahan’s Let Her Out (trailer here), which screens during the inaugural Brooklyn Horror Film Festival.

Helen’s mother was a prostitute, who became massively and uncannily pregnant after a violent visit from a Mephistophelean client. Alarmed by her sudden supernatural pregnancy, she takes a drastic step, ultimately killing herself and the twin Helen never knew she had—except not quite. Years later, twentynothing bike messenger Helen is compulsively drawn to the now abandoned motel where it all began (or ended). It kind of creeps out her well-heeled bestie-roomie Molly, but she hasn’t seen anything yet.

When a hit-and-run accident revives the twins dormant tissue, Helen starts acting erratic, losing time, and sometimes even exploding in fits of rage. She also develops unhealthy anxieties over a sinister looking painting given to her by a regular customer.

Let Her Out works best when it focuses on the psychological aspects of VTS, far-fetched though they might be, rather than the more outlandish body horror. For what’s its worth, the film features some of the creepiest ultra-sounds ever. Frustratingly, Calahan and screenwriter Adam Seybold let the promising Rosemary’s Baby-ish subplot related to the portrait wither on the vine.

Regardless, Alanna LeVierge is terrifically unhinged Helen. Adam Christie similarly goes for broke as Ed, Molly’s sleazy as heck hipster boyfriend. Arguably, the film needed a bit more of the grounded authority provided by Kate Fenton as good Dr. Headly before lighting off into fever dream territory.

Produced by Canada’s Black Fawn Films, Let Her Out ranks somewhere between the company’s freshly original Bed of the Dead and the more conventional throwback, The Drownsman. Frankly, the attention to detail in LHO pays considerable dividends, in terms of mood and atmosphere. Although it is definitely uneven, Calahan and Seybold bring enough new stuff to the table to keep most genre fans intrigued. Worth a look, especially as part of the newly launched Brooklyn Horror Film Festival, Let Her Out screens this Sunday (10/16), at Videology.

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