“Let Us In,” a film about youngsters battling evil in the manner of “The Goonies” (1985) and Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” is creepy-cute and joyfully cheesy. The tale (by Moss and JW Callero), directed by Craig Moss and inspired by an urban legend, places us in a hypothetical little town where youngsters have been suddenly disappearing. The first couple we meet obviously missed the word that necking in the woods after dark is a recipe for disaster. When a gang of foul-smelling, dark-eyed teenagers appears, with the leader asking, “Will you let us in?” the next attack is quickly followed by others. While her parents and law enforcement remain unconcerned or suspicious, Emily (M) is 12 years old.
Moss peppers his film with recognizable people (Tobin Bell is, of course, the local oddball), basic settings (though one creepy sequence makes the most of an after-hours coffee shop), and stupid science fiction, harkening back to the 1980s and 1990s. The film’s derivativeness is balanced by superb performances from the two protagonists and a director who appears to be enjoying the time of his life. That obvious joy pervades virtually every scene, giving the film an unpretentious warmth that piqued my interest. (Though Moss already had it when he hired Judy Geeson as Emily’s grandma, a staple of noteworthy dramas and gruesome thrillers since the 1960s.) The scumbag. IMDB