Let the Wrong One In: Brides of Dracula reinvented as a Dublin hen party? It’s close to irresistible

Braineater fans will be relieved to hear director Conor McMahon has retained his confidence in the hurl as an effective weapon against the undead

Let the Wrong One In
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Director: Conor McMahon
Cert: 16
Starring: Karl Rice, Eoin Duffy, Anthony Head, Mary Murray, Lisa Haskins
Running Time: 1 hr 37 mins

Carving away at the jugular for two decades, Conor McMahon now qualifies as a veteran of the Irish macabre. Those allergic to voguish “elevated horror” will have nothing to fear from his latest venture into comic bloodletting. He remains as dedicated to robust, uncomplicated entertainment as ever. Fans loyal since Braineater at the turn of the century will be relieved to hear he has retained his confidence in the hurl as an effective weapon against the undead.

We begin in a part of Transylvania that looks eerily like the exterior of Dublin Castle. A hen party strays too close to one of that locale’s signature mythical creatures, and the revellers return to the old sod as vampires. Poor old Deco (Eoin Duffy), a recovering heroin addict, gets infected and proceeds to make life hell for his long-suffering brother Matt (Karl Rice). Deco’s teeth sharpen. He becomes upset in the presence of garlic chips. Matt, a relatively sensible sort, takes on the duties of a reluctant Renfield.

McMahon references a collection of horror classics as the characters progress through lowbrow comic mayhem. The shadow of Nosferatu falls across an ordinary Dublin house. Even before a door gets smashed in, the camera apes the famous upwards shot of Jack Nicholson from The Shining. The mere presence of Anthony Head – tied to a chair for a bizarre portion of the action – reminds us of vampiric goings-on in Sunnydale High during the 1990s (and of Gold Blend coffee, obviously).

None of this gets in the way of the rough and ready action. The film does often look eye-wateringly cheap. The perfunctory attempts to address social issues do not really come off. But it works through its tolerable high concepts with a great deal of verve and charm. The idea of the traditionally glamorous, diaphanously robed Brides of Dracula being reinvented as a Dublin hen party is close to irresistible. Rice is charming as a decent bloke cast involuntarily into the grimly fantastic. Making economic use of digital and practical effects, McMahon very sensibly resists no opportunity to drench his cast in plasma.


A decent addition to the spice-bag tendency of horror comedy.

Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke, a contributor to The Irish Times, is Chief Film Correspondent and a regular columnist