It’s only August, yet I’ve already scored a double feature of holiday home invasion horror, so let’s get right into Don’t Let Them In and The Good Things Devils Do, two new ones to go on the Halloween holiday horror movies page.
DON’T LET THEM IN (2020)
A few shots of Jack o’ lanterns and a couple of trick or treaters are the most you get in terms of visual Halloween spirit in this one.
However, the date relates specifically to the disappearance of children in the plot.
It’s not much of a Halloween film, but it is a home invasion film with a hint of an Evil Dead vibe.
Which is perhaps the problem. There is only a hint of a darkly humorous tone, which feels oddly of place in what is otherwise a serious and unevenly paced film.
The setup has a pair of social workers doing a wellness check of an extremely troubled man on Halloween. He’s acting aloof, anxious, and disturbingly odd. Before they can leave, he holds them at gunpoint. They may think he’s the biggest threat, but then masked figures show up and immediately start hacking and slashing.
It’s pretty thrilling, the main male social worker gets all the funny bits after being initially annoying, and there’s an unexpected turn when the masks come off as the battle between good and evil rages.
Really, what’s good about this film is quite good. It just feels like it needed more of its most thrilling moments.
THE GOOD THINGS DEVILS DO (2020)
I’ll start off by saying that if you want Halloween spirit in your holiday horror flick, The Good Things Devils Do delivers, from decor on houses and scenes of kids trick-or-treating to the classic “spooky” sounding score and the theme song “Good Things” by Neil Lee Griffin, which is perfect for a Halloween playlist.
The cast is also horror gold.
Linnea Quigley is a woman whose husband is creating a museum of the macabre—and gets a mysterious trunk delivered to his basement like something right out of Salem’s Lot.
Bill Oberst Jr. is a gangster about to retire after one more robbery job with his daughter and unwanted partner in crime Kane Hodder.
Naturally they invade the home of the man with the trunk, and of course a vampire is released from it. She proves to be the best part of the film.
She looks great and gory, releases a heinous, high-pitched squeal, and gets those trapped in the house to do some vicious things to themselves and each other. But even she can’t help the dip in pacing in the middle of the film before things pick up again for the final act.
The film just seems to have an inconsistently funny vibe. Rather than the whole cast delivering an evenly humorous tone throughout the film, the comedy sort of gets handed off from one character to another. Quigley’s grown daughter offers some campy bimbo humor at first, Kane Hodder gets all the over-the-top, exploitative lines once he appears, and then a kid that comes trick or treating to the house temporarily treats us to the funny lines.
And just when the film is finding its groove with Oberst and the museum man working as a vampire fighting comic duo, it comes to an end. Argh! Even so (or unevenly so), I still added this one to my Halloween horror movie collection.