Kickstarter Movie Review – Black Eyed Children: Let Me In
Black Eyed Children: Let Me In – This film by Justin Snyder was one of those I found on Kickstarter some time ago. I won’t get my DVD copy until the film is released for sale in a month or two, but I did see it on Amazon Prime a few nights ago.
First let’s take the good. Justin is a very enthusiastic filmmaker. He’s raw but he shows some talent. He also didn’t quit; it took him two or three tries on Kickstarter to get the small budget he was trying to raise, but he didn’t give up. The actual budget for the film was around $1,000 which accounts for a lot of the limitations you’ll find within. But one immediate compliment was Heather and I have watched independent movies with budgets 20 times as large (or more) that were completely unwatchable. I’m sure there is a lot more Justin would have liked to do with this film if finances allowed it.
For those of you who haven’t heard of the Black Eyed children legend, it wasn’t created in this movie. The way it generally works is you get a knock on your door or are approached by a child between the ages of 8 and 13. They will ask for help and ask to be let in (usually to your home, but also your car or office). They won’t come in unless you INVITE them in, much like part of the earlier vampire mythos. Presumably if you invite them in horrible things happen to you, because only those people who refused to let them in are around to talk about the encounters. They’re often dressed in hoodies, and always have completely black eyes (or dark, navy blue according to some people).
Justin visits a town where a number of sightings have occurred, and interviews various people who have directly or indirectly encountered what they believe to be Black Eyed Children. A few of the interviews are kind of creepy; some are simply funny because of the personality of the interview subject. One or two of the interviews are kind of boring, but strangely they seemed boring almost in the way where someone is telling you a boring story and you keep trying to walk away and they won’t let you. So there’s a bit of humor there for me as well.
A night sleeping in a tent by the local lake (now drained after a disappearance) is moderately eerie. I guess if you wanted to draw comparisons between this film and others, you might think back to the early portions of The Blair Witch Project where they interview townspeople. However Justin’s interview subjects are less polished, and wackier.
Justin’s stated purpose in making the documentary is to try and educate people about this particular urban legend, and either lead you to further research on your own (if you might believe or are interested) or to wave it off if you don’t. The end of the film is corny, and one bit of the movie that involves acting instead of interviewing suffers from poor line-reading. But with $1,000 you can’t expect countless reshoots.
If you watch the film, you’ll probably start digging around and watch other commentary on this legend on Youtube or other sights, since the mere fact that you watch it means you’re interested in legends like this one. Justin keeps the film rather short (I think 80 minutes or so) which is another plus; sometimes these crowdfunded movies go 20 minutes too long.
I don’t see Back Eyed Children: Let Me In winning any awards, but there was enough in the film to keep me interested, to be creeped a couple of times, and to laugh. Maybe Justin can revisit this topic with a bigger budget, or maybe he’ll move on to something else. Based on what he put together for $1,000 I am interested to see what he tries next. And the final vote is the most important: I backed this on Kickstarter and I am pleased that I did, since I knew in advance the limitations he’d be facing. I hope Justin learned a lot through this journey and will put it to use on his next project.
Not yet available on DVD, you can find Black Eyed Children on Amazon Video on Demand (or free for Prime members), and likely other VOD services.