Let Me In

Let Me In
By Gary Murray
Starring Cloe Moretz, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Richard Jenkins and Elias Koteas
Written and Directed by Matt Reeves

Based on the film Let the Right One In
Running time 115 min
MPAA Rating R

Selig Film Rating Matinee
Let the Right One In was my pick of the best foreign film the year it came out. The story of a girl vampire and the budding romance between her and an unsuspecting boy had the right balance of horror and morbid tragic love. Since it was a Swedish film, few outside the art house crowd saw this wonderful little take on the traditional fang story. Let Me In is the re-make.
The story stays the same, just the places and details have changed. We are still in the winter but in Los Alamos, New Mexico, not Sweden. The film starts in Medius Rea with a man (Richard Jenkins) in the hospital after a tragic accident. The investigating officer (Elias Koteas) wants to question the man but his face has been burned beyond recognition. The inspector leaves his investigative notebook in the room to take a call. At the nurses station, the machines start to react. A nurse goes back into the room, then runs out screaming. The officer runs back inside and the burned man has jumped out the tenth story window. He left a note behind that said "I'm sory Abby".
We go back a few days. Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is a troubled little boy in New Mexico with major bully problems. He is a slight and reserved child with a Rear Window tendency of looking in the windows of his neighbors apartments through a telescope. One night he watches a man and girl move in. All they carry with them is a large trunk, moved in such a way that one knows it is empty.
The next day, there is the bane of Owen's existence. Three bullies torture him in the middle school locker room. One gets the idea that it has been going on for quite some time. Back in his apartment, the other side of his life is unfolded. Mom and Dad are getting a divorce, complete with all the yelling and back biting. Owen soon meets the new neighbor, Abby (Cloe Moretz). She is on the complex playground, barefoot in the snow. Owen notices that the girl smells 'funny.' The next night she is there, but showered and with boots. Abby encourages Owen to be more of a man and stand-up to the bullies. Then she assures him that if things get out of hand, she will handle them because she is a lot stronger than she looks.
As the two youngsters build a relationship, the nature of Abby and the man becomes a bit more apparent. He is old enough to be her father but he is not. He admits to her that he is becoming sloppy and is tired. The man is the caretaker of Abby, the vampire. He goes out into the night and finds victims for her blood lust. The relationship seems to be coming to a bitter end and both know it. We soon find out that Abby is twelve but has been twelve for a very long time. Owen finds a very old picture of her taken years ago but she looks exactly the same
The movie is how two individuals find each other, even though everyone knows it will be more of a caretaker rather than a love relationship. Writer/director Matt Reeves may be a little too close to his subject in the fact that he gives the audience a bit too much. By giving more details, he slows the action down. A tighter edit would have made the film give a greater sense of urgency. The way he frames the action sequences are masterful, it is just too long to get to them.
Cloe Moretz showed her meddle in Kick Ass being the most interesting thing in the flick. Here she gives us more of the same, a little girl with attitude to spare. She is a blood sucker, but there is this sympathy in the nuances. She does what she has to do to survive, no apologies needed. In two roles, she shows some amazing range.
Kodi Smit-McPhee is our purposeful weak link. He is the put upon character, the one that get the reactions of others. He has no
destiny, just a future existence. Since Owen is so young, we can see something he can't, his painful future with Abby.
Richard Jenkins just shines in an unthankful role. There is such a sadness in the world being the footman of a blood sucker. He does what he does for love, a love that can never be precipitated Through his performance, we see Owen's future.
This film is produced by the Hammer Films banner, the most successful independent horror franchise company of the 1950's and 1960's. This company made about 70 films that scattered all over the drive-in, from The Satanic Rites of Dracula to Frankenstein Unbound. They were the first company to show blood with their creature features. I hope this film is just a precursor of greater things to come from the studio. The brand deserves to be a part of a new generation. Just seeing the banner at the start of the film was such a film geek thrill.
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