A bullied young boy befriends a young female vampire who lives in secrecy with her guardian.A bullied young boy befriends a young female vampire who lives in secrecy with her guardian.A bullied young boy befriends a young female vampire who lives in secrecy with her guardian.
This newer film is a haunting and oddly redemptive tale of two children, both lonely, both with secrets. Owen is being bullied and threatened at school and is neglected by both his parents, who are going through a divorce. He steals money from his mother and buys candy and a pen knife which fuels his fantasy of defending himself at school. Abbey has a much older and gruesome secret, one that should be more horrifying than it is, but her well written and superbly acted character makes us care for her, despite her supernatural urges and abilities. (Okay, she drinks blood; nobody's perfect.)
The film owes much to its excellent direction by Matt Reeves, (Felicity) as well as its soundtrack and also its sound editing. The classic creepy movie noises – screeching hinges, slamming doors, gasps of surprise and screams of pain – come across as pristine and new in this film, whose overall mood is also enhanced by its locale: the stark winter landscape of New Mexico and the courtyard of a sad, low rent apartment building.
Reeves also gives much homage in this film to both John Ford and Clint Eastwood as well as Hitchcock. Ford and Eastwood for the carefully constructed shots that border on iconic: of figures in doorways, or shadows highlighted against the winter snow. Hitchcock for the recurring scenes of sudden violence, that while gruesome, also became somewhat rote and thus, more threatening: See how easy it is to kill someone?
The inherent suspense of this movie should have been diluted by the fact that the trailer and also the early available information on this film both reveal that the haunting and haunted young girl, Abbey, is a vampire. And yet, even with that information in hand, we are surprised by how much we like her, and begin to understand the awkward, deeply emotional relationship that develops gradually between the two children, who find a bond in their mutual isolation and outcast status. Like Owen, we are aware of the violence that Abbey represents but against our own good judgment, (and all that blood) we will feel ourselves liking her and rooting for a good (if not happy) ending. (This review won't spoil the ending for you other than to say it is both expected and unexpected.)
A strong supporting cast rounds out the film: Dylan Minnette (Saving Grace) plays the despicable school yard bully who is ultimately revealed to be a victim in his own family; Richard Jenkins (The Visitor, Burn After Reading) adroitly plays the tortured older man who many believe to be Abbey's father.
Best for viewers who enjoy thrillers. Unlike most slasher films, Let Me In conveyed strong, believable, emotion, pathos, and inevitable empathy for a character who many would not want to meet on a moonless night. But be aware that it also had a lot of blood and gore. Good for older teens and above only. Leave grandma home, but see this film.
- Oct 22, 2010