Let Me In – Movie Review

Cloverfield director Matt Reeves’s Let Me In (a remake of Swedish film Let The Right One In) tells the coming-of-age story of a withdrawn young boy, neglected by his mother and bullied by his peers. The boy’s name is Owen and he makes a connection with an equally reserved young girl who moves in next door. The twist to the familiar story is that Abby is not a little girl, but actually a centuries old vampire. Chloe Moretz (a.k.a. Hit Girl from Kick Ass), gives an excellent performance as Abby, playing her as cold, vulnerable, and tender, yet capable of being alien and monstrous as well. Kodi Smith-McPhee definitely looks wimpy enough for the part of Owen, but also capably expresses his deep longing for someone to love. The ember of affection between the two young characters is the heart of the movie, but it’s wrapped in the ashes of a chilling horror movie. The scene where Owen gives a hug to a blood-covered Abby gave me shivers (not to mention the kiss!). This thematic setup also makes for some intriguing parallels (especially between Owen and his bullies, and Abby and her “father” (played with incredible fragility by Richard Jenkins)). Going into the film I didn’t really know what to expect. I didn’t see the original film or read the novel on which it was based, but I thought that the English remake was really well done (other reviews suggest that the newer version lacks the subtlety of the original). It may feature some top notch child actors, but this is definitely not a movie for kids. On one hand there’s the very adult violence that takes place on screen (and off). On the other, there’s a grown-up dramatic sensibility some kids may understand, but most probably won’t appreciate in a movie like this — as evidenced by the annoying, juvenile giggling that came from the back row full of tween boys watching the showing I attended. They’re lucky that I’m just a middle aged guy, and not a 200 year old vampire, that’s all I’m sayin’. (4 out of 5).

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