Let Me In
Vampires. Ten years ago if somebody said that word, it would conjure up terrifying images of undead Transylvanians or disfigured night dwellers. However, these days the first thing that pops into most people’s minds is Robert Pattinson’s high cheekbones, pale skin, and meticulously tussled pompadour. It’s a shame really; young vampires used to be a terrifying force to be reckoned with (a la The Lost Boys.) Now, they’re somehow sex symbols that women swoon over. Thankfully, Let Me In has decided to do something to solve this problem. Pubescent thirteen year-olds will certainly go weak in the knees when they see this film, but it won’t be because some smarmy Abercrombie model is on-screen. Rather, they’ll be trying to contain their terror… and trying not to pee themselves.
Let Me In is an American remake of 2008’s Let The Right One In, which is itself a Swedish adaptation of a 2004 novel. As you can see, vampires are hot right now, and everyone’s trying to cash in on the craze. However, don’t be lured into the false belief that this film is some Twilight knockoff… nothing could be further from the truth. Let Me In is violent, bloody, disturbing, extremely gritty, and incredibly awkward. The story focuses on Owen, a gaunt twelve year-old who faces constant bullying at school. He has no friends to speak of, and his alcoholic mother could apparently care less about his wellbeing. To compensate for this loneliness, Owen spends his nights spying on his neighbors and imagining violent revenge against his tormenters. Quite frankly, he’s a messed up, vulnerable kid.
But all hope is not lost. One day, an intriguing young girl named Abby and her 50-something caregiver move in next door. Although Abby and Owen initially do their best to ignore one another, it’s only a matter of time before the two become friends. But everything is not as it seems: Abby is a vampire, and her male companion serves her by murdering innocents to procure their blood. Owen eventually learns this dark secret, but his fascination for Abby overwhelms any sense of danger he may feel about her.
Let Me In is an extremely unsettling film, and that’s what makes it great. Abby’s disturbing transformation from a seemingly ordinary girl to a bloodthirsty monster often comes with little warning. The foreboding music is quiet and minimalist; the score effectively builds suspense without giving anything away. The actors are equally brilliant. Chloe Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee have both proven their acting abilities in other films, but for Moretz in particular, this film takes things to a new level of brilliance.
Let Me In is a haunting new take on vampire romance, and it will have you squirming long after you’ve left the theater. I wouldn’t classify it is an outright horror film, but this movie is certainly disturbing… and that’s how it should be.