Let Me In
What She said:
Just when I thought I was going to make it through the week
without seeing a vampire movie or tv show Let Me In popped
up OnDemand to save me from such a life void of bloodsucking,
hissing, and brooding gazes. Let Me In is a little
different, though. It tells the story of a child vampire,
rather than the 30-something stereotype that we’re all used to
seeing by now. It is also quite serious, dealing with themes
such as bullying, broken families, the innocence of first love, and
justifiable homicide. In fact, there are a lot of complex
feelings in this film, including those of the viewer.
The plot revolves around 12 year-old Owen, who may be one of the
skinniest kids I’ve ever seen. It seems the school bullies
have picked up on this as well and continually harass the poor boy,
beating him up and calling him a girl. Owen dreams of
getting retribution, and sort of strikes you as a future serial
killer in training. But you’ll feel bad for him because
these kids really hound him. As if things at school aren’t
bad enough, Owen’s home life is not much better. His parents
are in the middle of a divorce and he lives with his
self-destructive mother in a pretty dive apartment complex.
One evening, a girl named Abby and a man move in. Owen
begins to encounter the girl regularly at night and learns that
she’s his age. At first she tries to avoid friendship but
they quickly begin to like each other. Soon they’re even
“going steady.” At the same time, people within the town
begin disappearing and turning up murdered. Owen slowly comes
to the realization that Abby is not your typical pre-teen; she’s a
vampire. Owen is forced to decide where his loyalties lie.
This movie is kind of sad. Everything is so hopeless and
dismal. We know from the get-go that Abby is not going to be
around long. She and her guardian must travel a lot because
of what they do, so we know there isn’t much hope for a long term
relationship between Abby and Owen. Plus, there’s the fact
that she’s a vampire. That kind of complicates things.
Owen learns all the wrong lessons from Abby about how to deal with
tough issues like bullying. But then again, you kind of want
him to beat the snot out of his antagonists. And yet at the
root of everything is this pure childhood love. The whole
thing is so complex. You even have to ask yourself, is Abby
just using Owen?
Anyway, the kids put in good performances. I just wish I
didn’t feel so down after this movie. I yearned several times
for Colin Farrell to pop-in and put a comedic spin on the
Thumbs mostly up.
What he said:
I can honestly say that I have never seen a vampire movie quite
like Let Me In. Interview with the Vampire
did have a younger vampire in the movie, but she was not the focal
point. On the surface, this may sound uninteresting to some. But I
can assure you that the youth and the everyday types of issues they
face play a very important part in the movie. It adds a new
dynamic to the vampire genre, all while still maintaining its horror
Chloë Moretz plays Abby. She is a reclusive and mysterious girl
who is new in town. She also happens to be a vampire. She is a real
deal, blood-sucking, vampire. Abby isn’t one of those wussy
vampires who only feeds on bad people, animals, or nobody at all.
She doesn’t sparkle in the sunlight. She eats people and has
no qualms doing so.
She isn’t completely void of sympathy though. Think of it this
way, she seems to feed only out of necessity. She doesn’t draw some
sadistic pleasure from it, but is simply eating much in the same
way man would animal. She’s also trapped in this kind of eternal
childhood. You can see aspects her of personality that are stuck in
– and sometimes even long for – aspects of her youth, but deep down
she has lived a very long time. She is a 12-year old girl, but one
who has the life experience of someone much older.
Moretz pulls of the contrasting nature of that character’s
personality very well. I’m really interested in seeing what becomes
of her career, as I see some great promise in her. Her performance
reminds me of Natalie Portman’s in Leon: The Professional.
Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is a troubled young man who lives next
door to her. His parents in the process of a divorce and he also
has a major problem with bullies; which is beginning to show some
signs of serious psychological trauma. But when this new girl
moves next door, there seems to be some hope. He likes her and
luckily for him, she begins to take a liking to him (not in that
“I’m going to eat you” way either).
Like Moretz, this young man is very good at portraying the
youth, innocence, and somti,es dark aspects of this character’s
personality. He has a very child-like appearance and demeanor; much
younger than the character’s actual age. But the problems in his
life are beginning to show signs of some very potentially violent
behavior. He basically just wants to be a regular kid and would be
if it were not for these outside factors.
I have to say though that Kodi Smit-McPhee needs to eat a
cheeseburger (or 10). I thought he was skinny in The Road because of the setting. I figured
maybe they did some makeup and digital work to make him appear
sickly, but he really is that skinny! Rant over.
As time goes on and bodies begin to pile up, Owen begins to put
the pieces together. He suspects that his new friend has something
to do with it. He still remains intrigued by the young woman though
and their dynamic continues to develop. It’s just a testament to
how screwed up this kid’s life is. How bad does somebody have it if
the “normal” part of their day involves hanging around with a
vampire? Many a talk show host would have a field day with this.
If this all sounds kind of hokey, I can assure you it is not.
This is a very serious drama/horror flick. Like The Road, this movie isn’t always the
happiest of movies, but it’s a quality one nonetheless.
I’d also like to quickly pay my respects to the young men
playing Owen’s bullies. These were some of the meanest kids I’ve
ever seen on screen. They made it very easy to hate them. Very good
job playing the types of roles that don’t always get the credit they
Rating: Thumbs up.
This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on
January 23, 2012.