‘You Shouldn’t Have Let Me In Review’: Toothless ‘Dracula’ Rehash

0
13


I am a fan of director Dave Parker. I’ve previously championed The Hills Run Red and his segment in Tales of Halloween here at Dread Central. So, I was optimistic going into his latest film, You Shouldn’t Have Let Me In. Sadly, this isn’t the director’s best. With that said, many of the problems stem from the screenplay (by Michael Lucid and Mary O’Neil), as opposed to Parker’s direction. The script has myriad issues that are made worse by performances that don’t come across as terribly natural. That combination effectively takes the wind out of the picture’s sails before it has the chance to become immersive.  

You Shouldn’t Have Let Me In follows a group of friends who meet up for a picturesque wedding somewhere in Italy. Rochelle (Isabella Egizi), the bride-to-be, is a privileged influencer with an unquenchable desire to be in control of every situation. After touching down in Europe, Rochelle’s longtime friend, Kelsey (Diana Gardner), meets a fella named Victor (Fabián Castro), who owns the villa where the entire wedding party is staying. To the surprise of absolutely no one but the core cast, Victor is actually a vampire. The bloodsucker seems to have a hypnotic hold over Kelsey, who just so happens to be the spitting image of a centuries-old woman in some unspecific ancient tome. If you’ve read or seen any incarnation of Dracula, you probably already know the rest.  

Also Read: ‘A Most Atrocious Thing’ Make Believe 2024 Review: Indie Filmmaking At Its Chaotic Best

One of my chief complaints about the screenplay is that it doesn’t do anything to preserve any element of mystery. Victor’s true identity isn’t shrouded in any level of secrecy. He is a collection of vampire tropes and Kelsey very much fulfills the Lucy role from Bram Stoker’s novel. Accordingly, each new development is fairly predictable. There’s nothing wrong with reworking a classic story. But it almost always helps to bring something new and exciting to the table. I kept searching for that unique spin here and couldn’t quite find one. 

Adding to the lack of mystery is the grand ordeal Victor makes about being invited into the villa that he owns. He makes a big production of asking the signer of the short-term rental agreement to invite him in. But why does he need anyone’s permission to enter his own home? Renting the dwelling out doesn’t change the ownership status.

Making matters worse, after insisting he is invited into his own home, Victor makes the most dramatic entrance possible; walking into the dwelling in slow motion with a hungry look in his eyes. It reads like foreshadowing but it’s tough to take as such because Victor’s motives are never in question. 

Also Read: ‘It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This’ Review: Understated Found Footage Horror Blurs the Line Between Reality and Fiction

The lack of mystery quickly becomes frustrating. When a secondary character (not so subtly fulfilling the Van Helsing role) warns one of the wedding guests that they are all in danger and that Victor isn’t who they think he is, it feels insulting. The viewer certainly doesn’t need to be warned, so why should the cast? With all the dramatic foreshadowing and foreboding music, there was zero doubt in my mind Victor was up to no good. The idea that the characters are surprised by that almost makes it feel as if they exist in a different movie than the one we are watching. 

Also challenging is the uncomfortable dialogue. A more seasoned cast may have been able to pull some of the lines off more naturally. But with mostly green players and a screenplay that features a fair amount of stilted dialogue, it becomes almost painful to spend time with these people. It’s as if the script needed a readthrough from a twenty-something to keep the characters from coming across like that Steve Buscemi meme from 30 Rock

Also Read: ‘Winnie-The-Pooh: Blood And Honey 2’ Review: Bloodier, Weirder, And Better Than Before

I definitely had some challenges with the film. But I don’t want to spend the entire critique speaking to what doesn’t work about You Shouldn’t Have Let Me In. The flick isn’t a total bust. There are pieces of the production that are somewhat effective. The villa set design is nice looking. Additionally, some of the shooting locations (Victor’s lair, for one) give off an abundance of Gothic energy that calls to mind the heyday of Hammer Horror. Moreover, there are some decent effects on display. Not to mention, Parker manages to establish a certain level of ambiance in a couple of different scenes. 

On the whole, the film doesn’t get everything right. The screenplay could have benefited from another pass to improve the dialogue and build a little more mystery into the proceedings. Additionally, the performances aren’t particularly convincing. With that said, some of the set design and camerawork are noteworthy.

If you’re keen to check out You Shouldn’t Have Let Me In, you can find the film streaming on Tubi now. 

  • ‘You Shouldn’t Have Let Me In’

Summary

‘You Shouldn’t Have Let Me In’ suffers from a challenging screenplay and less-than-convincing performances.

Tags:

Categorized:



View Source Here