Frightfest Glasgow: Let The Wrong One In (2022)

Connor MacMahon

Running Time: 101 Minutes

Certificate: 18

Starring: Karl Rice, Eoin Duffy, Anthony Head, Hilda Fay, Lisa Haskins, Louise Bourke, Jordan Lennon, David Pearse, Louise McCann, Laura Murray, Mary Murray

As the title brings to mind Tomas Alfredson's unsettling masterpiece, there's a clear love for vampires in writer/director Connor MacMahon's feature. The opening moments sees gothic music play to the sight of a Transylvanian castle, before the recognizable image is thrust into the modern day as a rowdy hen party runs into frame. As the bride falls victim to a vampire, there's an intention on placing the familiar within unfamiliar situations.

The setting then changes to Dublin, where Matt (Karl Rice) deals with the reappearance of his estranged older brother Deco (Eoin Duffy). Deco arrives looking terrible, although the cause is worse than just another hangover as he's been transformed into a vampire. The pair look for a solution while also contending with Deco's desire to suck blood.

Described by their mother as a user, Deco's vampiric status becomes the least off-putting thing about him considering how many bridges he's burned. Matt becomes subjected to his brother's guilt-trips and grapples with letting Deco back into his life, with this sibling drama serving as the films strongest element.

Crossing paths with them is a spurned vampire hunter with a passion for trains, delightfully played by Anthony Head in a role resembling his time on Buffy The Vampire Slayer. His appearance brings much fun with the vampire killings, as these grisly moments become more impactful than the comedic, particularly when the use of pratfalls and bodily functions feel so forced. There's not enough of the effective parody moments, the highlight being an imagined montage of a vampire frolicking in the sunlight.

Interesting choices are made to work around the budget, giving the film a D.I.Y charm which works for the practical moments, although the CG effects are unfortunately distracting. They're repeatedly used throughout the third-act, which becomes dominated by a less interesting villain. When the brotherly drama worked so well, this intention to raise the stakes and reconcile a broken family feels sadly perfunctory. A shame, as there was bite to this tale about owning up to past mistakes.

Let The Wrong One In played at Frightfest Glasgow