MOVIE REVIEW: Horror Film “Let Me In” Hard to Get Out of Your Head

In a pop culture environment that is cluttered with the neutered vampires of Twilight, Let Me In is a daringly different take on the vampire genre.

It’s also a very demented and disturbing and creepy take on soooooo many levels.

A remake of 2004’s Let The Right One In (a foreign film), the plot is centered in 1983 around a shy, troubled, bullied 12-year-old boy named Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee, who co-starred with Viggo Mortensen in 2009’s The Road), who befriends a strange, quiet 12-year-old girl named Abby (Chloё Moretz, Kick-Ass). Abby has moved into the apartment next door to him with her father (Richard Jenkins, HBO’s Six Feet Under).

While she’s reluctant to befriend him—even tells Owen that they can’t be friends point blank—the two misfits nonetheless bond, drawn to each other’s loneliness. Owen teaches her Morse code so they can communicate through the walls. He also shows her a secret hideout and asks her to go “steady” with him.

It turns out that Abby is a vampire who is hundreds of years old, but is locked in the body of a waifish 12-year-old who usually goes around barefoot. This makes her a very deadly creature of the night because she’s very good at playing the helpless card. Her victims are caught unawares. The movie has a muted quality about it, but when Abby springs into action in what is usually a visceral, blood-spattered burst of demonic energy, it becomes very loud—and messy.

Moretz does a phenomenal job in this role, rivaling that of Kirsten Dunst (the Spider-Man trilogy), who was 12 at the time she played the vampire Claudia in 1994’s Interview with the Vampire, opposite Hollywood heavyweights Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. Abby is perhaps one of the most ruthless vampires this side of Dracula, the granddaddy of the vampire genre, in terms of sheer ruthlessness.

Her “father”—who is under her thrall—is the one who reluctantly finds her fresh blood (he hides in the backseats of people’s cars and is dressed in a garbage bag over his head with holes in the eyes), but when he dies, she has to go out and get her own victims…. That or she has to bring Owen into the fold. Abby shows some vestige of humanity as she spares the lonely Owen, whose parents are undergoing a nasty divorce and who accepts her undead nature without question. Abby even saves him from a remorseless gang of bullies who relentlessly torment Owen at school. Boy, does she give them their comeuppance and then some when they try to drown Owen in the swimming pool.

The ending, which is sad and shocking and disturbing, ties into the aforementioned Morse code (no further plot elements will be given away), making it all the more disturbing. You really feel sorry for poor Owen.

You also feel sorry for Smit-McPhee and Moretz, who probably need some psychiatric help after making this film because it is that demented and that terrifying.

This is one of those movies, if you see during the matinee hours, that you are glad it’s still daylight upon exiting the theater because it really gets under your skin.

RATED R for foul language, excessive violence, bloodshed, disturbing situations, 1 hour, 57 minutes.
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