Let Me In is a romantic vampire horror story directed by Matt Reeves. It is an American adaptation of a Swedish film based on the novel Let The Right One In. Set in the 1980s, it tells the story of a twelve-year-old boy and his new-found friend, a vampire girl that lives next door to him.
This poor boy, Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) comes from a broken home, his parents separated and going through a divorce. He is relentlessly bullied at school. The main bully, a boy named Kenny, is violent in his assaults against Owen and taunts him, repeatedly calling him “a girl”.
Owen spends a lot of his time alone. Sometimes, while alone in his room, he acts out his own fantasies, such as those where he’s hurting the bullies at school, the way they hurt him. He even pretends to stab at them with a pocket knife that he acquires.
He also goes out to the playground of his apartment complex at night to get some time and space. There he meets Abby (Chloe Grace Moretz), a young girl about twelve years old herself. Abby has just moved in next door with Thomas, her “father”. Abby and Owen quickly become friends and even communicate with each other through the walls of their apartments using Morse Code.
Now, Abby is a vampire and only appears to be twelve years old. Also, Thomas only appears to be her father. He is really more of a companion that goes out at night and kills people to collect their blood for Abby to drink. We see him do this many a time throughout the film and he even tells Abby that he is, in fact, just getting tired. You can tell he’s been doing this for a long time. He even has a whole kit prepared that he takes out at night with him.
On one such night, he runs into trouble as he is spotted lying in wait in the backseat of a car. He struggles with an intended victim and as a result the car ends up crashing, leaving Thomas trapped inside under its weight. Left with no choice, Thomas uses concentrated sulfuric acid from his kit and pours it all over his face. This renders all of his features unrecognizable, therefore he is unable to be identified by police.
Hearing what has happened to Thomas, Abby tries to visit him in the hospital. She has trouble going through the proper channels and when she speaks to he lady at the front desk and then leaves abruptly, the lady calls the detective investigating the case (along with the other murders Thomas has committed), who has parked himself outside Thomas’s room at the nurse’s station.
So, she decides to visit him outside his window instead. There, Thomas lets Abby feed on him before he jumps to his death. Later, she goes to see Owen, tapping outside his window as well. Before she comes in she insists that he must give her permission to enter. He does and she spends the night in his bed, providing he doesn’t look at her. (She is still covered in blood from feeding on Thomas.) She also agrees to be Owen’s girlfriend.
The next day, the bullies at school attempt to accost Owen while they are on a class skating trip. Owen defends himself, hitting Kenny upside the ear with a pole, splitting it open.
Later on, Owen finds out that Abby is a vampire when he attempts to make a blood pact with her and she turns. In addition, he figures out that Thomas is not her father when he finds a photo of Abby, still age twelve, and Thomas at age twelve. So, he concludes Thomas has been with her providing for her for years. He also witnesses what happens to her if she enters a home without permission when he has her enter his apartment without him saying the actual words that she can come in. When she does this, blood starts seeping from her scalp, her eyes, her ears, her nose, everywhere. Owen freaks out and says that he’s sorry and she can come in.
Now, during these last few days, the detective who is investigating figures out that Abby is tied to Thomas and where Abby lives. One morning, he decides to go to her house. At the same time, Owen is there checking on Abby. She has left a note that both Owen and the cop see. When the cop gets there and breaks in through the front door, Owen runs and hides.
The note says that Abby is in the bathroom and for Owen not to come in. So, of course, the cop goes to the bathroom. He finds Abby in the tub, under a bunch of blankets, sleeping. She is using the tub as her coffin. As he starts to pull the blankets away, Owen seizes the moment to distract him and with that Abby attacks and kills the detective.
After the murder of the cop, Abby knows she cannot stay in town and tells Owen she must leave. She kisses him sweetly on the lips and climbs into a taxi and leaves.
The following day at school, the class is having swimming lessons. Kenny, with the help of his friends and his abusive older brother, attempt to drown Owen in the pool. Abby appears and comes to Owen’s rescue, dismembering and killing all of the boys.
The next day, Owen gets on a train hauling a larger trunk with his luggage, to leave town. As the train starts moving, a message in Morse Code comes from inside the trunk. Owen taps something back and their journey begins.
Okay, so this movie wasn’t horrible but, it surely wasn’t what was acclaimed by Stephen King on the front of the box. He said “The best American horror film in the last 20 years”. I just don’t know it I can say all that about it. But it was good.
I was immediately turned off a little by the way it was filmed at the beginning as there is a bunch of whispering by the actors and it was very hard to hear and understand.
It also seemed to have such a slow roll to the whole thing. This was definitely more of a love story (yech!) than a horror movie. Which was disappointing to me, I must admit.
Now, this Owen character, in my opinion, is a perfect match for the Abby character because he is truly messed up. I think that, if he hadn’t met Abby and become her new caretaker, he would have become a killer anyway in time. We see him spying on people through his telescope, peering through their windows from afar. It’s just wrong, and frankly, wicked creepy. Not to mention, all of his violent tendencies seem to stem from being bullied at school and obviously, even standing up for himself didn’t stop that so, that was bound to continue. I will say that I was not upset when the bullies bit the dust. They were just begging for karma to exact revenge on them in some fashion.
The coolest thing about this movie was the car crash scene. In the extras, they talked about how it was filmed and it really was done in an awesome way. I found the whole explanation to be extremely interesting so if you get the chance, you should check that out.
Overall, I liked this movie. It’s not one that I will watch often but, it is one that I will almost certainly end up watching again.