‘Let Us In’ (2021) Combines Creepypasta and Kid Friendly Horror – Movie Review

Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: A friend of a friend of a friend heard about awful things happening to people all across the United States who encountered black-eyed children asking to be let inside… And you’re probably not the only one. I had family members sending me emails wondering if I had encountered this new urban legend—or creepypasta—while I was in college, asking if I’d heard any new reports or if it had been debunked. So, having been close to the subject, when I was asked to watch and review Let Us In directed by Craig Moss (read our interview with him here), I was interested in checking it out.

Synopsis for Let Us In:

A spirited girl starts investigating the sudden disappearances of several missing teens in their small town. Realizing there might be something deeper happening, Emily might be up against forces she can’t even imagine.

Let Us In serves as an exploratory venture into a different genre and directorial type for Moss, who has primarily worked on parody comedies and action fare before this, and unfortunately, it shows. Both of those types of segments and sequences in the film have the most care and craft to them. Even when the jokes don’t land, you can tell when Moss is setting them up. Unfortunately, the actual horror sequences don’t do as well for a number of reasons. In an effort to make this film more kid-friendly, the black-eyed kids go from unrelenting and brutal in the opening to downright pathetic villains by the end. The film is not helped by an extended Mean Girls subplot that takes up a rather large chunk of time, providing a third or fourth dose of characterization for the lead that wasn’t needed and goes nowhere.

This is not to say there aren’t any positives in Let Us In. Moss captures the spirit of late ’80s/early ’90s family adventure movies, reminding me a lot of the Ninja craze of the early ’90s (3 Ninjas and Surf Ninjas in particular). Hyper-competent kids are out having unsupervised adventures of which adults are completely unaware, usually gently guided by some eccentric outcast. In this case, that role goes to protagonist Emily’s (Mackenzie Moss, daughter of director Craig Moss) science teacher (Eric Callero), who encourages her and her friend, Christopher (O’Neill Monahan), to try to communicate with extraterrestrials in a bid to become the youngest kids recruited by NASA.

Along the way, they encounter Mr. Munch (Tobin Bell: Saw franchise), the only known survivor of the black-eyed kids, who seems to be just worn out, barely raising his voice and sitting or leaning whenever possible. Normally, I wouldn’t comment on that, but everything feels unintentionally uncomfortable when he’s onscreen, which is not the normal case for Bell, who can usually give entire audiences chills with his voiceovers as Jigsaw/Billy the Puppet. I wish he were given more to do, either plot or exposition wise.

Final Thoughts:

While it may not be what most adults or hardcore creepypasta fans are looking for, Let Us In is an excellent introductory horror flick for pre- and early teens to watch with family. It’s not too brutal or scary but not so restrained as to not have any thrills and chills for the viewing audience.

Let Us In was released on VOD streaming on July 2, 2021, with a physical release TBA.

About Chris Filipowicz

Born in small town Montana, Chris is a writer, artist, raccoon rehabilitator, and general supporter of disability rights and awareness. He loves film, especially horror, sci-fi, and animation; and has read comics since he was a child.

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