I have a friend to thank for this. I’ll say it now: Thank you, Aristotle, for the marvellous birthday present- actually, presents. It was a pleasure and a delight to watch- and very nearly made me cry. I’ve only cried once watching a film (sorry, I’m just one of those people who can’t cry) and so this is an achievement in itself.
I wouldn’t have sought this movie on my own. I borrowed the book it was based on, twice. The first time I couldn’t finish the book before I had to return it. The second time (which was after I watched the movie) I just couldn’t find the motivation to continue the book – it’s sitting behind me, on the shelf, right as I type this. I’ve heard of the Swedish version (Let the Right One in), I’ve heard lots about Chloe Moretz, I’ve seen the poster for Let Me In in a bookstore – but I wouldn’t have gone and watched it, simply because it isn’t the type of film I usually watch.
So I have chance to thanks, and a great friend and fellow movie nut.
I found Let Me In beautiful, sensitive, thoughtful, evocative, thought-provoking, and poignant.
It is, first and foremost, a brilliant throwback to the popular image of vampires as good-looking, blessed immortals whose only problems are relationship issues and a craving for blood. Here, the craving for blood takes centre-stage, and essentially defines what being a vampire entails. It is a brilliant and insightful exploration. Beyond mere craving for blood, being a vampire in today’s world destroys any semblance of a normal life, and it’s doubly worse when you’re trapped as a child, never to grow up. Watch the film and you’ll understand.
Secondly it excels in its portrayal of the relationship between two damaged teens. Owen is the classic victim of bullying whose parents are on the cusp of a divorce and who has no friends to turn to for help. His relationship with Abby develops very naturally, in large thanks to the wonderful performances of the young actor and actress.
The juxtaposition of a seemingly normal family/high school drama and outright terrifying horror story makes this film hypnotic to watch. There’s a constant tune in the background – it’s ethereal, scary at times and lends the film much of its eerie atmosphere.
At its core, Let Me In plays on the viewers’ emotions and thoughts. Notable scenes include the one where Abby visits her “father” in the hospital (it was the one that made me tear up) and where Owen closes the door on the police officer as the latter reaches to him for help – you can see a choice being made there, and it begs the question of whether this whole situation is right. Owen’s decision is telling of the broken background he comes from, and if it comes to a question of morals, one’s first instinct is to condemn vampirism and view Owen as straying down a dark path, but if you’ve followed the movie through to that point, you’ll find it hard to think of this as wrong. The final scene was bewildering for me. My initial thought was how could Owen just walk away from his life like that? There are too many… admin details to be settled!
Later on I realised it didn’t matter. Because Owen’s following the same path as Abby’s “father”, and the only question that matters now is where will that path lead him and Abby?
For sure, it’s not somewhere beautiful.
Rating on Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Rating on IMDb: 7.3
Viewing history: Seen 1x. DVD-ROM.