Fantastic Fest 2021- Let the Wrong One In

By Naomi Roper

On a heavy night out feckless loser Deco (Eoin Duffy) is attacked by Sheila (Mary Murray). Waking up the next morning Deco realises that something is very wrong, the sun burns his skin, he’s not visible in the mirror and he’s repulsed by the plate of leftover garlic chips. Deco’s brother Matt (Karl Rice) being the brains in the relationship quickly realises that Deco is now a vampire. Things are complicated by the arrival of vampire slayer Henry (Anthony Head in an inspired bit of casting). As Deco becomes increasingly more violent as his bloodlust grows Henry teaches the reluctant Matt his vampire-killing ways. Will Deco and Matt work out how to deal with Deco’s new vampirism or will Deco end up getting staked?

Let the Wrong One In is a gloriously silly Irish vampire comedy with a ton of heart. Director Conor McMahon takes elements of a family drama (Deco is unwelcome at the family home due to his long-standing drug problem), very silly comedy and gross-out effects and throws them into a blender and the result is a chaotic charming confection of a film that will leave you smiling from ear to ear. There are so many killer visual gags here from the vampires struggling with umbrellas turning themselves inside out when they’re trying to shield themselves from the sun to the absolutely hilarious final result as Deco tries to turn himself into a bat that had me cackling. 

Karl Rice and Eoin Duffy play off each other brilliantly as the dopey brothers trying to come to terms with Deco’s new undead status. Duffy is hilarious as the druggie brother slowly coming to terms with what has happened to him while Rice is pure heart and charm as the kid brother who should stake his big bro but just can’t bring himself to do it. Stealing the show is Anthony Head (riffing on his most famous role as Giles in Buffy) as Henry the vampire killer. Giles was very cool and angsty and had rock star leanings. Henry is a middle-aged taxi cab driver and train enthusiast whose fiancee Sheila is patient zero for the vamp attacks (her hen do was in Transylvania because the flights were cheap). Henry is as dull as Giles was sexy and Tony Head is clearly having an absolute riot of a time. I deeply fell in love with Henry and his fondness for trains. 

Also having a grand time is Hilda Fay (as the boy’s mother) and Sheila and all her vampire pals (especially the scene-stealer who tries to stop Matt from entering the vampires’ lair).

Silly and surprisingly touching Let The Wrong One In is an absolute delight. It’s up there with What We Do in the Shadows in terms of wildly enjoyable vampire silliness and that is high praise indeed. 

Let the Wrong One In had its world premiere at Fantastic Fest