Let The Wrong One In feels tailor-made for midnight screenings
The new Irish horror-comedy also features what should be a star-making turn from a local up-and-coming talent.
As much as Irish cinema has had some great recent successes within the horror genre - The Hole in the Ground, You Are Not My Mother, Sea Fever - there does still seem to be a stronger compulsion to blend it with comedy. The likes of Grabbers, Extra Ordinary and The Boys From County Hell reveal a habit for Irish storytellers to attempt to cover their bases with multiple genres, with varying results of success.
The same goes with Let The Wrong One In, the new horror-comedy from writer/director Conor McMahon, who has previously attempted the same mixture with 2004's foot-in-mouth themed Dead Meat and 2012's killer clown movie Stitches. His latest outing is by far his strongest to date, primarily thanks to a decent hits-to-misses ratio on the gags, some attention-grabbing make-up and special effects, and one truly standout performance that should do for Eoin Duffy what The Young Offenders did for Alex Murphy and Chris Walley.
The plot kicks off with a hen's party in Transylvania, where the bride-to-be Alison (Laura Murray) is bitten by a local vampire. Having now been turned, she returns to Dublin where she and her pals begin feeding and converting anyone unlucky enough to be caught in their path, all while planning the opening of a new vampire-themed nightclub where they can chow down on hundreds of victims all in one night.
Meanwhile, one of her victims happens to be Deco (Eoin Duffy), a down-and-out addict who turns to his estranged younger brother Matt (Karl Rice) for help. While they begin to figure out his new set of strengths and weaknesses - including a sudden aversion to garlic chips - along comes self-appointed vampire hunter Henry (in a nice piece of casting, Anthony Head aka Giles from Buffy), who also happens to be Alison's soon-to-be-husband.
The majority of the rest of the movie plays out inside Matt's home, as Deco goes back and forth on deciding whether or not he wants to chow down on his brother's jugular or not, while Henry tries to advise Matt on how to survive a vampire attack while simultaneously trying to kill Deco in front of him.
Most of the humour is derived from the very Irish reaction to a terrifying, life-altering problem... with a sense of irritation, like something that can hopefully be slept off, while Deco's girlfriend is more annoyed that he might have been hooking up with other women, rather than being a murderous creature of the night.
Not every joke lands, and the single location betrays the movie's budgetary constraints, but thankfully there was an appropriate amount of love and attention given to some of the movies nastier deaths - the fake blood must've arrived on set in the gallons - while Duffy gives a dynamite, steals-every-scene performance that he's in, revealing an incredible natural talent for comedic timing.
Sure, you'll laugh just as much at this movie as you will with it, but part of us feels that was meant to be the point all along. So... while not exactly Ireland's answer to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but definitely a distant cousin in that family, and deserves to be seen with a full, raucous late night crowd on the big screen.
Let The Wrong One In arrives in Irish cinemas on Friday, 20 January.