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I Belong

Movie Review: Let Me In

Title: Let Me In

Director: Matt Reeves

Producer: Simon Oakes

Genre: Horror, Fantasy, Romance, Thriller

Distributor: Overture Films

Series: N/A

Release Date: October 1, 2010

Format: Standard

Runtime: 115 Minutes

MPAA Rating: R

Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Elias Koteas, Richard Jenkins, Sasha Barrese, and Cara Buono.

Synopsis (Product Description):

Twelve-year-old Owen is viciously bullied by his classmates and neglected by his divorcing parents. Achingly lonely, Owen spends his days plotting revenge on his middle school tormentors and his evenings spying on the other inhabitants of his apartment complex. His only friend is his new neighbor Abby (Chloe Moretz), an eerily self-possessed young girl who lives next door with her silent father. A frail, troubled child about Owen’s age, Abby emerges from her heavily curtained apartment only at night and always barefoot, seemingly immune to the bitter winter elements. Recognizing a fellow outcast, Owen opens up to her and before long, the two have formed a unique bond.

When a string of grisly murders puts the town on high alert, Abby’s father disappears, and the terrified girl is left to fend for herself. Still, she repeatedly rebuffs Owen’s efforts to help her and her increasingly bizarre behavior leads the imaginative Owen to suspect she’s hiding an unthinkable secret.

The Review:

Spoiler Alert- I’ve intentionally been vague in my description of events in the film and have endeavored not to discuss anything you couldn’t glean from the theatrical preview.  But nonetheless there’s bound to be a spoiler or two in the following review.

Let Me In is the American remake of the Swedish Film, Let The Right One In, based on the bestselling novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist.  With incredibly strong performances by Kodi Smit-McPhee and Cloë Moretz, who played Hitgirl in the excellent Kick Ass, Let Me In earns a special place in the increasingly crowded vampire urban fantasy subgenre.  I’ve rarely seen such young actors carry a film on their shoulders the way these two have.

Set in New Mexico in the winter of 1983, Let Me In tells the story of Owen, a lonely 12 year old, bullied mercilessly at school.  His parents are in the midst of an acrimonious divorce and he spends his nights by himself in the courtyard of his apartment building playing and devouring candy.  There aren’t any other kids in his apartment building until one night when Abby and her dad move into the apartment next door.  Owen quickly realizes that Abby isn’t like other girls.  She walks barefoot in the snow, smells a little funny and seems way out of touch.  Owen also hears strange noises coming through his bedroom wall from Abby’s apartment.   The audience learns in short order that Abby is in fact no ordinary little girl and that the relationship between her and her father is unnatural to say the least.

Let Me In is quite a subversive bit of storytelling.  It turns many clichés on their heads.  The kids in the film are not innocent little angels.  Owen, who is constantly preyed upon by bullies, steals from his mother’s purse, acts out violent power fantasies, and shows a few of the warning signs of becoming a future serial murderer.  Abby, while she has the face of an angel, is anything but.  By the time you reach the film’s end and reflect on her relationships with her father and Owen, you may be surprised to find that she is actually quite a manipulative and a hugely destructive force.  Her guile is never overt, and remarkably I found myself feeling a lot of sympathy for her despite her showing herself to be capable of some truly brutal behavior.

Let Me In also succeeds in its use of subtlety.  The most effective scenes in the film, including its climax are more effective for what isn’t shown.  Appearances are deceiving, and the film challenges the audience to fill in some of the blanks and ponder why Abby and her father are the way they are and what the future holds for Abby and Owen.  It’s dark and disturbing.  Although its leads aren’t old enough to drive, Let Me In is very much a film for adults.  While it has some intense gore and violence, it’s not gratuitous.  It’s a smart film that blurs the line between good and evil and it’s ending should leave you feeling very conflicted about who the good guys and bad guys are, or whether the distinction has any meaning in the context of the film.  If you want to experience a unique, tightly written, character driven vampire film, then do yourself a favor, and go see Let Me In.

FTC Advisory: We purchased our own tickets.

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Movie Review: Let Me In, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
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2 Responses to “Movie Review: Let Me In

  1. Smash AttackNo Gravatar

    Glad to hear this was good, because I thought the original was fantastic.

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  2. redheadNo Gravatar

    I loved the original! At first I was worried they would screw up an American version, make it too hollywood, not enough creepy and subtle, but it sounds like they did a good job.

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